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Frank Chin Biography

(1940– ), The Chickencoop Chinaman, The Year of the Dragon

Asian-American novelist and playwright, born in Berkeley, California, educated at the University of California, Berkeley, the State University of Iowa, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Chin, who was the first Chinese-American brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad, later became the first contemporary Chinese-American playwright to have his work staged in New York at the American Place Theatre: The Chickencoop Chinaman was performed in 1972, as was The Year of the Dragon (televised on PBS in 1975). He was a founding member of the East West Players, the longest-running Asian-American theatre company in the nation. For his work as co-editor of Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers, a seminal anthology published in 1975 by Howard University Press, and for his recovery of ‘lost’ Asian-American authors such as Toshio Mori and John Okada, he is often considered the grandfather of Asian-American literature. His own more recent work includes a collection of short fiction, The Chinaman Pacific and Frisco RR Co (1988), which includes excerpts from his unpublished novel, ‘A Chinese Lady Dies’; the Big Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Chinese and Japanese American Literature (1991); and the novels Donald Duk (1991), a Bildungsroman set in San Francisco's Chinatown, and Gunga Din Highway (1994).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cheltenham Gloucestershire to Cockermouth Cumbria