Jung Chang is the author of the best-selling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991), which the Asian Wall Street Journal called the most read book about China; Mao: The Unknown Story (2005, with Jon Halliday), which was described by Time magazine as “an atom bomb of a book”; and Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China (2013), a New York Times “notable book”. Her latest book, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China (2019), is regarded as “another triumph” (Evening Standard London).
Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. She has won many awards, including The NCR Book Award (UK, 1992, the forerunner of the Samuel Johnson Prize), UK Writers’ Guild Best Non-Fiction (1992), Fawcett Society Book Award (UK, 1992), Book of the Year (UK, 1993).
She has received a number of honorary doctorates from universities in the UK and USA (Buckingham, York, Warwick, Dundee, the Open University, and Bowdoin College, USA). She is an Honorary Fellow of SOAS University of London.
Jung Chang was born in Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) she worked as a peasant, a “barefoot” doctor, a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a PhD in Linguistics in 1982 at the University of York – the first person from Communist China to receive a doctorate from a British university.