Amy Tan
Lecture Date: 3-11-1997
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: At the beginning of this clip, John Eadie, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, and Tess Tavormina, professor of English and associate dean, introduce author Amy Tan. Tavormina praises the attention to detail that Tan gives to the names in her stories. Tan discusses "the ghosts of my imagination" in her lecture and the constant reminders of her mortality as a person and as an author. The writer regales the audience with humorous events from the past, including her presences as a “contemporary” author in Cliff’s Notes study guides, her fascination and possible meeting with the famous author Vladimir Nabokov, her encounters with her critics, and her stories about her family, who influenced many of her beliefs and memories. She discusses the nature of memories, how “memory feeds imagination,” and consequently, relates to her writing. Although her novels are not autobiographical, they are based on the feelings of her memories. She traces this pattern of thinking back to her childhood, where death was a common theme in her family and continues to be on her mind in life.
Biography: American novelist Amy Tan, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, has focused her writing on the cultural and generational differences among Asian-American women. Her best known novel, The Joy Luck Club, explores the relationships between Chinese women and their Chinese-American daughters. Since its publication in 1989, Tan's book has been translated into twenty-five languages and has been made into a major motion picture. Her subsequent novel, The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), backed up her reputation and was well-received by the public. Since then she has published two children’s books, The Moon Lady (1992) and The Chinese Siamese Cat, (1994), two novels, The Hundred Secret Senses (1998) and The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2001), and a work of non-fiction, The Opposite of Fate (2003).