Janet Hyunju Clarke
Diana Chang was born in New York but raised in China. She and her parents, an American mother of Chinese-Irish heritage and a Chinese father who was an architect, lived in Beijing, Nanking, and Shanghai, where she attended American schools. She then returned to New York to finish high school. After graduating from Barnard College, she worked as an editor in several publishing houses in New York. Chang taught in the English Department and the Program in the Arts at Barnard College for ten years, where she developed her interest in writing short stories.
Chang is a prolific writer who has published in several genres including the novel, short story, short-short story, poetry, and essay. In addition, one of her short stories, “Falling Free, ” was adapted into a radio play by American Public Radio in 1989. Another, “In the Purple Shade, ” won the best short story award in the Hampton Shorts collection of stories in 1997. Chang is the recipient of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. She served as an editor of The American Pen for several years.
Chang is also a painter who has had solo as well as group exhibitions at galleries on Long Island, New York. Her artistic sensibilities inform her poetry and fiction: “That I am a painter is reflected in my writing, I believe, which is imagistic” (“Diana Chang” 16). By writing, Chang has said, “I purchase my citizenship in this land of life from which I feel estranged. Others claim their rightful place simply by virtue of being born. But I must earn it like an illegitimate child, a stateless person, and so, by some exacting game of industry and imagination, I create something in order to become all that I was meant to be” (“Why Do Writers Write?” 3).