Shawn Wong

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Shawn Hsu Wong
Oakland, California
OccupationWriter, editor, professor
Notable worksAiiieeeee!

Shawn Hsu Wong (born 1949)[1] is a Chinese American author and scholar. He has served as the Professor of English, Director of the University Honors Program (2003–06), Chair of the Department of English (1997–2002), and Director of the Creative Writing Program (1995–97) at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 1984. He is a pioneer of Asian American studies. Wong received his undergraduate degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley (1971)[2] and a master's degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University (1974).[2]


Shawn Wong in San Francisco, 1974

Wong's first novel, Homebase, published by Reed and Cannon (1979),[3] won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award[4] and the 15th Annual Governor's Writers Day Award of Washington.[4] His second novel, American Knees, first published by Simon & Schuster in 1996,[5] was adapted into an independent feature film entitled Americanese (2010),[6] written and directed by Eric Byler[7] and produced by Lisa Onodera.[7] The book was re-issued in 2005 by University of Washington Press.

Wong explained in an interview the title "American Knees": "When I was a child, kids used to come up to me and ask, 'What are you: Chinese, Japanese or Americanese?", while some asked if I was "Chinese, Japanese or dirty knees?"[7]

"I never really knew what that meant when I was a kid," Wong says, "but I knew I didn't like it."[8]

Wong is also co-editor of six multicultural literary anthologies including the pioneering anthology Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers[9] (reprinted in four different editions), Literary Mosaic: Asian American and Asian Diasporas, Cultures, Identities, Representations, and The Big Aiiieeeee!. He is co-editor of Before Columbus Foundation Fiction/Poetry Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards, 1980-1990 – two volumes of contemporary American multicultural poetry and fiction.[10]

Wong has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship[7] and a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Italy.[7] He was featured in the 1997 PBS documentary Shattering the Silences,[11] and in the Bill Moyers' PBS documentary Becoming American: The Chinese Experience, in 2003.[12] He is also featured in the 2005 documentary What's Wrong With Frank Chin?[13]

Wong also serves as consulting and contributing editor for Transtext(e)s-Transcultures: A Journal of Global Cultural Studies.


Shawn Wong specializes in Creative Writing and Asian American studies.[2] Since 1972, he has taught at several colleges and universities, including Mills College, University of California at Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and the University of Washington. He has also taught at the Universität Tübingen (Germany), Jean Moulin Université (Lyon), and at the University of Washington Rome Center (Italy).

He is on the faculty of the Red Badge Project,[14] which teaches storytelling to veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, or anxiety disorders.




  • Asian Diasporas: Cultures, Identities, Representations (with Robbie Goh), Hong Kong University Press, 2004
  • The Literary Mosaic: An Anthology of Asian American Literature, Harper Collins, 1995
  • The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards 1980-1990 (with Ishmael Reed and Kathryn Trueblood), W.W. Norton Co., 1992
  • The Before Columbus Foundation Poetry Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards 1980-1990 (with J. J. Phillips, Ishmael Reed, Gundars Strads), W.W. Norton Co., 1992
  • The Big Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature (with Jeffery Paul Chan, Frank Chin, and Lawson Fusao Inada), Meridian/NAL, 1991
  • Yardbird Reader Volume 3 (with Frank Chin), Yardbird Publishing Inc., 1974
  • Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers (with Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada), Howard University Press, 1974; most recent re-issue by Meridian, 1997

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huang, Guiyou (2013-08-13). The Columbia Guide to Asian American Literature Since 1945. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231501033.
  2. ^ a b c "Shawn Wong". Department of English | University of Washington. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  3. ^ Raphael-Hernandez, Heike; Steen, Shannon (2006-11-01). AfroAsian Encounters: Culture, History, Politics. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814776902.
  4. ^ a b "Shawn Wong — Humanities Washington". Archived from the original on 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  5. ^ "American Knees | Department of English | University of Washington". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  6. ^ "Shawn Wong". The Red Badge Project. Archived from the original on 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  7. ^ a b c d e Catherine O'Donnell. "Film based on novel by UW professor Shawn Wong to be distributed nationally". UW Today. University of Washington. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  8. ^ "University of Washington News". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16.
  9. ^ "Year 114 – 1974: Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers edited by Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Hsu Wong | 150 Years in the Stacks". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  10. ^ "Foundation Media | Before Columbus Foundation". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  11. ^ "Gail Pellett Productions". Shattering the Silences: The Case for Minority Faculty. Gail Pellett Productions. 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  12. ^ "No Turning Back |". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  13. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2005-04-13). "Review: 'What's Wrong with Frank Chin?'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  14. ^ "Our Faculty - The Red Badge Project". The Red Badge Project. Retrieved 2016-10-14.

External links[edit]