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