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Amy Tan is a Chinese American novelist and writer. She is famous for her eight-month New York times bestseller book, The Joy Luck Club. Her other two books, The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) and The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), also appeared on the list. She stopped writing for a while after she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She is now actively raising awareness for this illness and advocating for patients’ rights.
See the fact file below for more information on the Amy Tan or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Amy Tan worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY
- Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952, in Oakland, California.
- She is the daughter of John and Daisy Tan who were both Chinese immigrants.
- Her brother and father died from a brain tumor when she was 15 years old.
- After this tragedy, her mother took her and her younger brother and moved to Europe.
- They settled in Montreux, Switzerland, where Amy Tan attended high school.
- Tan, despite being a rebellious teenager, she still managed to graduate high school a year early.
FAMILY AND EDUCATION
- Tan and her mom were in constant conflict. Sometimes they did not speak to each other for months.
- She did not adhere to her mother’s wish for her to become a neurosurgeon or a concert pianist.
- She also defied her mother’s desire for her to finish her studies at Linfield College and decided to follow her boyfriend in California.
- However difficult their relationship was, it was her mother who helped her hone her writing skills. She became Tan’s muse.
- When Tan won an essay contest when she was eight years old, Amy longed to write novels and short stories.
- Tan attended five colleges in total: Linfield College, San Jose City College, San Jose State University, the University of California, and the University of California at Berkeley.
- She got her B.A. with a double major in English and Linguistics, followed by her M.A. in Linguistics.
- Tan worked for countrywide programs and served as a language development specialist for children with a developmental disability.
- She was also a director for a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to mainstream multicultural children with developmental disabilities into early childhood programs.
- Tan became a freelance business writer in her writing firm. They offered writing services to salesmen and executives of large corporations.
- She began writing fiction as a form of therapy because she was working ninety hours a week as a freelance writer.
- She was accepted in a writing workshop called the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
- Her time in the Squaw Valley writing workshop was fruitful, as her first story was published in three magazines.
- She was also encouraged to write more and make a collection by a literary agent, Sandra Dijkstra and was keen to get her as a client.
THE JOY LUCK CLUB
- When her mother got ill, she promised herself that she would take her mother to China once she recovered.
- In China, she met her other two sisters who her mother had not seen for forty years.
- Her experiences in China inspired her to write her first published book.
- The Joy Luck Club was published in 1989 and met massive success. It got a lot of positive reviews and stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for eight months.
- The book explored the connection between Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters.
- The Joy Luck Club won various awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Award.
- Tan was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award.
- The book was adapted into a movie in 1993, and Tan co-wrote the screenplay.
OTHER POPULAR NOVELS
- Most of Amy Tan’s books are about mother–daughter relationships.
- The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) tells a story of a Chinese woman who has secrets waiting to be told her daughter. The book was also on the New York Times bestseller list and had been in the list in many countries. It was the story of her mother whom she named Winnie in the novel.
- The Moon Lady (1992) is the first children’s book made by Amy Tan.
- It’s a story of a girl who encountered the Lady Moon who grants one’s wish.
- The Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), another children’s book by Amy Tan, tells that story of a mother cat who reminds her kittens of their true breed, a Chinese cat, and tell them a story about the famous feline Sagwa of China.
- The Hundred Secret Senses (1995) is fictional, but based on her experiences and the stories told by her mother.
- The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2003) is about the connection between an American-born Chinese lady and her immigrant mother.
- The Valley of Amazement (2013) is a story of separation, hope, and love between a mother and daughter.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND LEGACY
- Her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, became the New York Times Best seller for eight weeks.
- It was also translated to 25 languages including Chinese.
- The Joy Luck Club (1989) won three literary honors: Los Angeles Times Book Award, The Commonwealth Gold Award, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award.
- Amy Tan received the Golden Plate by the Academy of Achievement.
- This honor is introduced every year to high accomplishing people from various fields.
- In 2019, Amy Tan won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT AMY TAN
- Amy Tan is a dog lover and has pet dogs at her home.
- Amy has appeared in The Simpsons as herself.
- Tan and her husband, Lou DeMattei, have been married for more than twenty years. They live in San Francisco and New York.
- Her Chinese name, “An Mei” means “Blessing from America. “
- Tan underwent treatment for Lyme disease, a chronic bacterial infection contracted from the bite of a common tick.
- She published a book about her experience with the disease called The Opposite of Fate: The book of Musings.
- he was 15, her brother and father died from a brain tumor.
- Tan also draws. She shares sketches of detailed animals online.
Amy Tan Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Amy Tan across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Amy Tan worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Amy Tan who is a Chinese American novelist and writer. She is famous for her eight-month New York times bestseller book, The Joy Luck Club. Her other two books, The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) and The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), also appeared on the list. She stopped writing for a while after she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She is now actively raising awareness for this illness and advocating for patients’ rights.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Amy Tan’s Facts
- Amy Tan’s Life
- Some Life Details
- Amy’s Words of Wisdom
- Her Life at a Glance
- Amy’s Facts Of Life
- Her Other Novels
- June and Amy
- Your Love For Mom
- Your Choice of Book
- Lyme Disease Campaign
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.