PERSONAL: Name is pronounced "Gheh-ling Yen"; born in Shanghai, China; naturalized U.S. citizen; daughter of Xiao Ma (a writer); married Lawrence A. Walker (a diplomat), 1992. Ethnicity: "Chinese." Education: Wuhan University, B.A., 1989; Columbia College, Chicago, IL, M.F.A., 1999.
ADDRESSES: Home—Abuja, Nigeria; Beijing, China; Berkeley, CA. Agent—Dijkstra Literary Agency, 1155 Camino del Mar, Ste. 515, Del Mar, CA 92014.
CAREER: Writer. Guest on media programs in the United States, China, and Taiwan. Military service: Chinese People's Liberation Army; became lieutenant colonel.
MEMBER: Chinese Writers Association, Writers Guild of America (West).
AWARDS, HONORS: First Prize, best novel, and Ten Year Prize, soldier's favorite novel, both from People's Liberation Army Publishing House, 1987, for Green Blood; first prize, Central Daily News (Taiwan), 1991, for novella "Siao Yu," and 1992, for the short story "The Landlady"; China Times Critics Prize, 1993, for the short story "Red Silk Dress," and Million Yuan Literature Prize, 1998, for Inner Space; first prize, United Daily News (Taiwan), 1993, for the short story "Across the Ocean," and Best Novel Award, 1995, for Fusang; Golden Horse Award, best script adaptation, Taiwan Academy of Motion Pictures, 1998, for Xiu Xiu, The Sent-Down Girl; first prize, National Students and Scholars Literary Contest (Taiwan) and prize for best experimental fiction, Columbia University Scholastic Press Association, both 1998, for the story "Celestial Bath."
White Snake and Other Stories, translated by Lawrence A. Walker, Aunt Lute Books (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
Xiu Xiu, the Sent-Down Girl (screenplay; based on her short story "Celestial Bath"), Stratosphere Entertainment, 1999.
The Lost Daughter of Happiness (novel), translated by Cathy Silber, Hyperion East (New York, NY), 2001.
The Banquet Bug (novel), Hyperion East (New York, NY), 2001.
Ci xing di cao di, Jie fang jun wen yi chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1989.
Chen Chong qian zhuan, San min shu ju (Taibei Shi, China), 1994.
Hai na bian, Jiu ge chu ban she (Taibei Shi, China), 1995.
Ren huan, Shi bao wen hua chu ben qi ye gu fen you xian gong si (Taibei Shi, China), 1998.
Tian yu, Jiu ge chu ban she you xian gong si (Taibei Shi, China), 1998.
Boximiya lou, San min shu ju gu fen you xian gong si (Taibei Shi, China), 1999.
Feng zheng ge, Shi bao wen hua chu ban qi ye gu fen you xian gong si (Taibei Shi, China), 1999.
Shui jia you nui chu zhang cheng, Zhong yang bian yi chu ban she (Beijing, China), 2002.
Other works in Chinese include the novels Green Blood, Whispers of a Woman Soldier, Female Grasslands, Straw-Sandaled Nobility, Fusang, and Inner Space; the novella The River Flows Backwards; the short fiction collections Siao Yu, Across the Ocean, The River Flows Backwards, and Kite Song; an essay collection, Bohemian Towers; and the biography Joan Chen: The Early Years; other books in Chinese include Secret Talker, Stories of Suizi, and Ninth Widow. Author of the screenplay Siao Yu (based on her short story). Contributor to periodicals.
ADAPTATIONS: Yan's story "Nothing Other than Male and Female" was adapted as a screenplay and released by Yen Ping Co. of Taiwan in 1995; it was also broadcast as a television series by China Central Television, 1995.
SIDELIGHTS: Geling Yan once told CA: "I was born in Shanghai and attended primary school there until the Cultural Revolution closed down all schools. I entered the People's Liberation Army at age twelve and served in ballet and folk dance troupes. I was stationed in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, but I spent most of the time on the road, performing at various military installations. I spent a total of eighteen months in Tibet.
"The daughter of a writer, I began writing in the late 1970s as a war correspondent covering the Sino-Vietnamese border war. After being discharged from the army with the rank of lieutenant colonel, I moved to Beijing and published my first novel, Green Blood, about my experiences as an adolescent girl soldier. I earned a bachelor's degree in Chinese literature from Wuhan University in 1988. That same year, I was invited to visit the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Information Agency's International Visitors' Program. In 1989, I went to the United States again and studied at Columbia College in Chicago. I now live in the San Francisco Bay area and abroad."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1995, review of Ci xing di cao di, p. 805; March 1, 1999, review of Ren huan, p. 1162; January 1, 2001, p. 929; April 1, 2002, p. 1314; November 15, 2002, review of Shui jia you nu chu yang cheng, p. 585.
Economist, August 11, 2001, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness.
English Journal, May, 2002, John Noell Moore, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 97.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2001, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 542.
Library Journal, July, 1999, Rebecca A. Stuhr, review of White Snake and Other Stories, p. 140; February 15, 2001, Cathleen A. Towey, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 203.
Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2001, review by Michael Harris, p. E3.
New York Times Book Review, May 13, 2001, Philip Gambone, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 24; July 28, 2002, Scott Veale, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 16.
Observer (London, England), July 22, 2001, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 16; October 20, 2002, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 1999, review of White Snake and Other Stories, p. 55; March 5, 2001, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 62.
Times Literary Supplement, August 10, 2001, Julia Lovell, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 20.
Washington Post, April 20, 2001, Carolyn See, "Victims of Desire and Contempt," p. C02.
World Literature Today, winter, 2000, Fatima Wu, "Geling Yan," p. 238; spring, 2002, Jeffrey C. Kinkley, review of The Lost Daughter of Happiness, p. 136.