Lan Samantha Chang

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Lan Samantha Chang
Lan Samantha Chang.jpg
BornAppleton, Wisconsin[1]
Alma materYale University,[1] Harvard University, University of Iowa
GenreNovel, short story
Notable worksHunger
All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost
The Family Chao
Notable awardsRona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award (1998)
PEN/Open Book Award (2005)
Berlin Prize (2021)

Lan Samantha Chang (張嵐; pinyin: Zhāng Lán) is an American writer of novels and short stories.


Lan Samantha Chang was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and attended Yale University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies. She worked briefly in publishing in New York City, before getting her MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford. She is the Elizabeth M. Stanley Professor in the Arts at the University of Iowa and the Director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the first woman, and the first Asian American, to hold that position.


Chang's first book is a novella and short stories, titled Hunger (1998). The stories are set in the US and China, and they explore home, family, and loss. The New York Times Book Review called it "Elegant.… A delicately calculated balance sheet of the losses and gains of immigrants whose lives are stretched between two radically different cultures." The Washington Post called it "A work of gorgeous, enduring prose." Her first novel, Inheritance (2004), is about a family torn apart by the Japanese invasion during World War II. The Boston Globe said: "The story…is foreign in its historical sweep and social detail but universal in its emotional truth." Chang's second novel, All Is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost (2011), follows two poets and their friendship as they explore the depths and costs of making art. The book received a starred review from Booklist and praise: "Among the many threads Chang elegantly pursues—the fraught relationships between mentors and students, the value of poetry, the price of ambition—it is her indelible portrait of the loneliness of artistic endeavor that will haunt readers the most in this exquisitely written novel about the poet’s lot." Chang's fourth book and third novel, The Family Chao, is published by the W. W. Norton & Company.[2]

Chang has received fellowships from MacDowell, the American Library in Paris, the Guggenheim Foundation,[3] the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


As the sixth director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Chang has been fundamental to the increase of racial, cultural, and aesthetic diversity within the program, and has mentored a number of emerging writers.[4] In 2019, she received the Michael J. Brody Award[5] and the Regents' Award for Excellence from the University of Iowa.  

Awards and distinctions[edit]




Selected Nonfiction

See also[edit]

Critical studies[edit]

  • Jonathan Freedman. "Transgressions of a Model Minority." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 2005 Summer; 23 (4): 69–97.
  • Hetty Lanier Keaton. Feeding Hungry Ghosts: Food, Family, and Desire in Stories by Contemporary Chinese American Women. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2002 July; 63 (1): 187–88. U of Tulsa, 2002.


  1. ^ a b Birnbaum, Robert, "Lan Samantha Chang", The Morning News
  2. ^
  3. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Lan Samantha Chang". Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Chen, Ken. "In Elite MFA Programs, The Challenge of Writing While 'Other'". NPR. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  5. ^ "Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service | Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost". Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  6. ^ Chang, Lan Samantha (November 26, 1998). "Opinion | Pass the Turkey. And the Stir-Fry. (Published 1998)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  7. ^ Chang, Lan Samantha (January 3, 2008). "Opinion | ... And Iowa Now (Published 2008)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Chang, Lan Samantha (March 7, 2009). "Opinion | Volvos From Florida (Published 2009)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Writers, Protect Your Inner Life". Literary Hub. August 7, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2020.

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