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Lunch with Jan Wong Hardcover – 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; First edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385259816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385259811
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,296,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Jan Wong was the first of only two Westerners to study in China during the Cultural Revolution, a tale she recounts in her memoir, Red China Blues, My Long March from Mao to Now. Named one of Time magazines top ten books of 1996, Red China Blues remains banned in China.

Jan is a third-generation Canadian who grew up in Montreal speaking English and French. In the summer of 1972, while majoring in Asian studies at McGill University, she traveled alone to the People's Republic of China. There, she talked her way into a spot at Beijing University. She became fluent in Mandarin as a result of being the one and only student of a humorless Communist Party official (whom she nicknamed Fu the Enforcer.) On Saturday afternoons, as part of Chairman Mao's Revolution-in-Education Movement, Jan also dug ditches, hauled pig manure and harvested wheat, shoulder to shoulder with her Chinese roommate, Scarlet.

Later, as a foreign correspondent based in Beijing for six years, Jan was an eyewitness to the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square.

She began her journalism career in 1979 as a news assistant for The New York Times in Beijing where she reported on Democracy Wall and the beginnings of dissent in China. She was a staff reporter at The Gazette in Montreal, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail. For six years, she wrote about celebrities in her weekly column, "Lunch With Jan Wong". She is a recipient of the George Polk Award in the U.S., a National Newspaper Award in Canada, the New England Press Association Newswoman of the Year Award, the Stanley MacDowell Prize for Writing, the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Silver Medal and the Daily Bread Food Bank Public Education Award, among other honors.

Jan has degrees from McGill University (honors history) and Beijing University (Chinese history). She also has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Her other non-fiction books are:

Jan Wong's China, Reports from a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent
Lunch With Jan Wong, Sweet and Sour Celebrity Interviews
Beijing Confidential, A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found*

Her latest book, Out of the Blue, a Memoir of Loss, Recovery, Renewal and, Yes, Happiness, will be published in 2011. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons. She has taught journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. In Fall 2010, she will be the Visiting Irving Chair of Journalism at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

*Beijing Confidential is published as:

*Chinese Whispers, A Journey Into Betrayal in the UK
A Comrade Lost and Found, A Beijing Story in the US
Pechino Confidential, La rivoluzione culturale e la scomoda eredita maoista in un toccante viaggio nel cuore della nuova Citta Proibita in Italy
Beijing Confidential, Lost and Found in the Forbidden City in Australia and N.Z.
Pékin Confidentiel in France

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig Rowland on February 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jan Wong, author of Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now used to write a column in The Globe and Mail newspaper wherein she took celebrity guests to lunch and conducted a no-holds-barred interview. Lunch With is a collection of past newspaper columns. Wong had developed a reputation for sometimes (some would say often) skewering her guests in print and several of these guests openly wondered why they were putting themselves through such journalistic torture, before even glancing at the menu. In fact, many of the guests felt betrayed and Wong writes about the lawyers and press agents who contacted her afterward.

Perhaps times have changed in interview techniques since the first "Lunch With" column was published in the late nineties, or, as I am more likely to agree with, Wong and I are much alike in our journalistic style, so that I don't feel that any of her columns are insensitive, self-serving or bullying. I spent many moments in the staff lunchroom laughing with a full mouth over these columns. Wong has reproduced sixty-one of her "Lunch With" interviews and followed up with all the letters to the editor that poured in afterward.

Wong divided her book into themes, with interview sections devoted to "Fellow Scribblers", "Political Animals", "Movie Makers" and so on. She interviews Rosemary Altea, a psychic who claims to be able to communicate with both dead people and dead pets, and while other interviewers may have been impressed:

"She stunned Larry King, who is easily stunned, by describing his dead parents. And she reduced a sympathetic New York Times reporter to tears by supposedly communicating with the journalist's late husband.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great short stories, about lunch with various people from actors to politicians. Witty, well written, with just the right punch lines....
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