Yan at Frankfurt bookfair 2014
16 November 1958
|Alma mater||Wuhan University|
Columbia College Chicago
|Notable works||A Woman's Epic|
Geling Yan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; born 16 November 1958) is a prominent Chinese-American writer, author of several novels, short stories and screenplays. Much of her work has been adapted for film. She is currently represented by the Hong Kong-based Peony Literary Agency.
Yan was born in Shanghai, China in 1959. She is the second child of Yan Dunxun and Jia Lin. She has an elder brother Yan Geping (). Her father is an alumnus of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University.
Yan began performing as a dancer at age 12. She served in the People's Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution, in Tibet and later as a journalist in the Sino-Vietnamese War, achieving a rank equivalent to lieutenant colonel.
Her first novel was published in 1985. She is the author of such novels as The Banquet Bug (published as The Uninvited in the UK) and The Lost Daughter of Happiness, as well as a story collection entitled White Snake and Other Stories. Several of Yan's works have been adapted for film, including Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl, which was directed by Joan Chen, and Siao Yu, directed by Sylvia Chang and screenplay co-written by Ang Lee. Zhang Yimou, the Chinese director of To Live and Raise the Red Lantern adapted her novella 13 Flowers of Nanjing to the screen as The Flowers of War, and his movie Coming Home was based on Yan's novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi. She has worked on other scripts including a biography of Mei Lanfang, the Peking opera star, for Chinese director Chen Kaige.
Yan's ex-husband is Li Kewei; they divorced in the 1990s. In 1992, Yan married her second husband Lawrence Walker in San Bruno, California. Walker is a diplomat. They have no biological children together, but have adopted a Chinese girl, Yanyan.