Ha Jinnovelist, poet
From the age of 14 until he was 20, Jin served in the People's Liberation Army in China. Upon release, he taught himself English working the night shift as a railroad telegrapher, and received his BA and MA from Chinese universities. In 1985, he moved to the United States to pursue graduate work in English at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He decided to remain in the U.S. after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. His first two books of fiction, Ocean of Words (1996) and Under the Red Flag (1997), came on the heels of his poetry collections Between Silences (1990) and Facing Shadows (1996). Ocean of Words received the PEN/Hemingway award. In 1988, he published a novella, In the Pond. His poignant novel Waiting (1999), the story of an army doctor in Communist China in the late 1960s, received the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. His 2004 novel War Trash, about a Chinese soldier taken prisoner during the Korean War, earned him a second PEN/Faulkner prize in 2005. He is on the English faculty at Boston University.