Amy Tan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Amy Tan
Amy Tan.jpg
Tan in 2007
Born Amy Tan
(1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 62)
Oakland, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Alma mater San Jose State University bachelor and master degrees
UC Santa Cruz & UC Berkeley doctoral
Notable works The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan
Chinese 譚恩美

Amy Tan (born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships. Her best-known work is The Joy Luck Club, which has been translated into 35 languages. In 1993, the book was adapted into a commercially successful film.

Tan has written several other bestselling novels, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter and Saving Fish from Drowning. She also wrote a collection of non-fiction essays entitled The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. In addition to these, Tan has written two children's books: The Moon Lady (1992) and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), which was turned into an animated series which aired on PBS. She also appeared on PBS in a short spot encouraging children to write. Tan is also in a band with several other well-known writers, the Rock Bottom Remainders.

Personal life[edit]

Tan was born in Oakland, California. She is the second of three children born to Chinese immigrants Daisy (née Li),[1] and John Tan, an electrical engineer and Baptist minister. When Tan was 15 years old, her older brother Peter and father both died of brain tumors within a year of each other. Daisy moved Amy and her younger brother John Jr. to Switzerland, where Amy finished high school.[2] During this period in her life, Amy learned about her mother's former marriage to an abusive man in China, of their four children (a son who died as a toddler, and three daughters) and how her mother was forced to leave her children from a previous marriage behind in Shanghai. This incident provided the basis for Tan's first novel, 1989 New York Times bestseller The Joy Luck Club.[3] In 1987 Amy traveled with Daisy to China. There, Amy met her three half-sisters.[4]

Tan received her bachelor's and master's degrees in English and linguistics from San José State University, and later did doctoral linguistics studies at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley.[5]

In a New York Times "Room for Debate" piece "Deconstructing Lyme Disease", "My Plight with the Illness", Amy Tan discussed her late-stage case.[6]

She resides in Sausalito, California, with her husband, Louis DeMattei, a tax attorney whom she met on a blind date and married in 1974.

Tan was featured on The Simpsons episode "Insane Clown Poppy" on Season 12, Episode 3.



Children's books[edit]


  • Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America With Three Cords and an Attitude (with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Barbara Kingsolver) (1994)
  • Mother (with Maya Angelou, Mary Higgins Clark) (1996)
  • The Best American Short Stories 1999 (Editor, with Katrina Kenison) (1999)
  • The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2003, ISBN 9780399150746)
  • Hard Listening, co-authored in July 2013, an interactive ebook about her participation in a writer/musician band, the Rock Bottom Remainders. Published by Coliloquy, LLC.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sherryl Connelly (February 27, 2001). "Mother As Tormented Muse Amy Tan Drew On A Dark Past For 'Daughter'". (New York Daily News). Archived from the original on 2011-03-14. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Archives of my Personality", address to American Association of Museums General Session (Los Angeles), May 26, 2010
  3. ^ "Amy Tan Biography". Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Penguin Reading Guides - The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan". Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Amy Tan Biography". Archived from the original on July 2, 2008. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 
  6. ^ Amy Tan (August 11, 2013). "My Plight with the Illness". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  7. ^ "Hard Listening". 

External links[edit]