Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

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JUSTIN CHIN (1969–)

Nikolas Huot


BIOGRAPHY

Self-described as an “unapologetically queer Chinese-Malaysian tattoed punkish guy,” Justin Chin is a first-generation immigrant born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore who now lives in San Francisco (Mongrel 71). He left home at the age of eighteen, after graduating from junior college in Singapore, and enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he worked at the campus newspaper. In 1991, he moved to the mainland and transferred to the journalistic program at San Francisco State University. Feeling restrained by the objectivity of journalism, Chin began to write essays, poetry, fiction, and performance pieces to express his opinions. Shortly after Chin started to perform his poetry and spoken word on stage, he became a member of the 1995 and 1996 San Francisco National Poetry Slam team. Also in 1996, the San Francisco Guardian, in its annual awards honoring local artists, awarded him a “Goldie” for the distinction of his spoken word performances.

In 1997, Chin published his first collection of poetry, Bite Hard, which was nominated for the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards and the Lambda Literary Awards. Two years later, Mongrel: Essays, Diatribes, and Pranks (1999), a collection of biographical and opinion essays written between 1994 and 1997, was published to positive reviews. Chin is also the author of a second collection of personal essays, Burden of Ashes (2002), and of Harmless Medicine (2001), a volume of poetry nominated for the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards, the Lambda Literary Awards, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Awards. Other than his published work, Chin has created eight full-length solo performance works and several shorter works that he has performed around the United States. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies such as The Outlaw Bible of

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