Skip to main content

Chen, Ran 1962-

CHEN, Ran 1962-

PERSONAL: Born 1962, in China.

ADDRESSES: Home—Boxborough, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Columbia University Press, 61 W. 62nd St., New York, NY 10023.

CAREER: Short story writer.


Wu Chu Gao Bie, Shi Dai Wen Yi Chu Ban She (Changchun, China), 1993.

Chen Ran Zuo Pin Zi Xuan Ji, Guang Ming Ri Bao Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1996.

Fan Qiang Dou Shi Men, Hua Yi Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1996.

Mi Huan Hua Yuan: Nü Xing Xin Li Ti Yan Xiao Shuo, Zhongguo Wen Lian Chu Ban Gong Si (Beijing, China), 1997.

Nü Xing Ti Yan Xiao Shuo, Beijing Shi Fan Da Xue Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1999.

Sha Lou Jie De Bu Yu, Shi Dai Wen Yi Chu Ban She (Changchun, China), 2001.

A Private Life, translated by John Howard-Gibbon, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Long known in China for her short stories and novels, Ran Chen's A Private Life is the first to be translated into English. The story centers on "the inner life of a highly passive heroine, as seen against the turbulence of her country's recent past—in a first English translation from an acclaimed Chinese writer," as a Kirkus Reviews contributor explained. Ni Niuniu is a woman who lives a life of isolation after growing up with a cold and distant father, being seduced by an older woman, getting molested by her math teacher, Mr. Ti (who then proclaims his love for her), and being left behind by her college lover, who flees from China to Germany. At age twenty-six, she is diagnosed with a mental disorder, and from her bedroom window, she does indeed see a world that seems utterly alien. From the Cultural Revolution to the short-lived Tiananmen Square uprising, Chen provides a look at China's slow shift from absolutist communism to budding capitalism through the eyes of one tormented citizen. "Perhaps the state thinks she is going mad … but by the end of the book, the reader thinks she might just be going sane," concluded Elizabeth Gold in the Washington Post Book World.



Booklist, April 15, 2004, Allison Block, review of A Private Life, p. 1422.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of A Private Life, p. 284.

Library Journal, August, 2004, Sofia A. Tangalos, review of A Private Life, p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 2004, review of A Private Life, p. 50.

Time, September 13, 2004, Jeff Plunkett, "Missing the Train."

Washington Post Book World, May 30, 2004, Elizabeth Gold, "New Novels of Love and Melancholy, from Poe's New York to Jiang's China," p. 13.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Chen, Ran 1962-." Contemporary Authors. . 19 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Chen, Ran 1962-." Contemporary Authors. . (January 19, 2019).

"Chen, Ran 1962-." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved January 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.