Family drama fantasy
San Francisco, California
June 14, 1948
Of Chinese American ancestry, Laurence Yep writes realistic fiction as well as science fiction and fantasy. He often portrays an outsider searching for identity and delves into themes of alienation, tolerance, and imagination.
Yep attended Marquette University and received a degree from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 1970. He earned a Ph.D. from the State University of New York-Buffalo in 1975. A writer since 1968, he has also lectured and been a writer in residence.
Yep's father was born in China and immigrated to the United States as a boy. His mother was born in Ohio and grew up in West Virginia, where his paternal grandfather ran a laundry. The family eventually moved to California, where his parents met and married.
“Growing up as a Chinese American in San Francisco, I found few books which dealt with my own experience,” Yep said in Books I Read When I Was Young. “I lived in a predominantly black area but commuted by bus every day to a bilingual school in Chinatown. Stories set on farms or in suburbia or Midwestern small towns were less real to me than science fiction or fantasy. Science fiction and fantasy dealt with strategies of survival: people adapting to strange new lands and worlds, or some fantastic or alien creature adjusting to ours. Adapting to different environments and cultures happened each time I got on and off the bus.” Early favorites were books by Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein, he said.