Ha Jin will read from his latest book, Nanjing Requiem. Nanjing Requiem retells the story of Minnie Vautrin, the Dean of Jinling College, who earned in retrospect the title “Angel of Nanjing” for her role in transforming the Jinling campus into a refuge for some 10,000 Chinese as they sought to escape the invasion of the Imperial Japanese Army, an invasion that cost some 250,000 civilian lives, and became an iconic experience of brutality in war. Born in China in 1956, Xuefei Jin (Ha Jin is his pen name) was a teenager when China entered the Cultural Revolution. He became a member of the People’s Liberation Army at the age of fourteen. His novel Waiting, which won him the National Book Award in 1999, and the PEN/ Faulkner in 2000, was based on his experiences during his five-year service in the Red Army. He was awarded the PEN/ Faulkner again in 2005 for War Trash. His newest books are A Free Life (2007) and The Writer as Migrant (2008), a collection of lectures. A new collection of short stories, A Good Fall, was published in November 2009. Ha Jin earned his Master’s Degree at Shandong University in China, and in 1986 came to the United States to begin his doctoral work at Brandeis. He was accepted into Boston University’s Creative Writing Program in 1991 and completed his studies in 1994. Though a native of China, he has done his writing in English. In addition to the National Book award, Ha Jin received the Pen/Hemingway award for his first collection of short stories, Ocean of Words (1996), and the Flannery O’Connor prize for his second, Under the Red Flag (1997). In 2005 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before returning to Boston University Jin had taught poetry, fiction and English Literature at Emory University.
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