Press Release: Jin, The Writer as Migrant
From a youth spent as a manual laborer in China’s Cultural Revolution to winning the National Book Award for his novel Waiting, Ha Jin has taken a remarkable journey across eras and continents, one that has left him one of the most admired figures in world literature. Now, in his first work of nonfiction, he reflects on the very circumstance of being a writer in a new land, a representative, willingly or not, of a place one has left—but can never truly leave behind.
In The Writer as Migrant, Ha Jin explores his own life and work alongside those of writers throughout literary history who have found themselves, exiles or immigrants, struggling to find their way in a new place and a new culture. Writing in a clear, almost conversational style, he considers the works of writers from Joseph Conrad to W.G. Sebald, Vladimir Nabokov to V. S. Naipaul, exploring questions of language, politics, duty, and the very concept of home. Some of those writers have served as models for Ha Jin, while others have remained enigmas—or even antagonists—but all have been crucial to his understanding of the complicated place of a migrant writer.
A slim but powerful reflection, The Writer as Migrant introduces us to a new facet of one of our most exciting writers, revealing him to be a thoughtful, penetrating, and generous reader of literature as well.
Read the press release.