Frank Chin

American writer

Frank Chin (born February 25, 1940) is an American author and playwright.

Chin (1975)


  • My main concern was to write a novel that uses all of this stuff that is accessible, to write a novel that deals with white racism and Chinese American history and the real Chinese fairy tales and the heroic tradition, and to demonstrate that a Chinese American could do all of this without sending whites up the wall or alienating anybody…
  • The first thing that begins to happen when you begin taking yourself seriously as a writer is this imaginary writer’s block that people talk about, but I never really suffered from. But there’s this barrier between the spoken word and the written word, once you set something down in writing it’s supposed to be set in stone or you take on this funny attitude that writing is unnatural…
  • That this play is the first play by an Asian American at our existence, is proof of the great success white racism has had with us. America might love us. But America’s love is not good. It’s racist love. I don’t want it.
  • I am out of theatre. I will not work with any theatre, producer, writer, director, or actor who plays and lives the stereotype. So I write fiction, essays, and articles.

Quotes about Frank Chin

  • ("San Francisco writer Edward Iwata wrote, "The struggle between Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston is a literary battle for the soul of Asian Americans". How do you respond to this?") A: For a while I just thought, Why doesn't Frank Chin just shut up and go home and write? The only way he's making a literary reputation is to attack me. He doesn't have anything else going for him. That's his career. And by doing that he is destroying himself as a writer because he is just wasting his words. This idea of writing for the soul of Asian America-maybe there is something there. I no longer read Frank Chin, but I hear that the latest works are an attempt to find Chinese American manhood through a violent, warrior mythos, trying to find an identity with killers, with knights from the past who solved things by going to war. He says that our history is one of battle, of blood. I know that he has battle cries and one of his mottoes is, "War." He says it in Chinese. I am going in the completely different direction. I am looking for a language of peace. I am trying to rewrite a book of peace. And so maybe that is fighting for the soul, not just of Chinese American people, but the human soul. I want the human soul to be one where people care for one another and where people cherish and nourish and value one another, and I am trying to think of ways of conflict resolution that have to do with talking or hugging or something, whereas his idea of conflict resolution is to kill each other.
  • there are plenty of black men and Asian men who love Alice Walker's work. And they love my work. And there isn't even a battle going on. It's Ishmael Reed all by himself. It's Frank all by himself. But the press plays it up as if it's all these Asian men against me. I think that for a while Frank got so much press because the press didn't know who else to call. So every time a new book comes out, they call Frank and then he speaks as if he's speaking for everyone and says, "Oh, we hate Amy Tan; we hate Maxine." But it's just him; he doesn't speak for anybody.
  • What are the real important issues at stake? I have identified two. One of them is the racial and cultural myths. Whom do they belong to? Frank would say they belong to real Chinese such as himself. And they do not belong to, for example, the Caucasians. My feeling is, if somebody goes to a bookstore and buys my book, then they have bought the myths, and they can have the great myths of China by reading them. The only way that myths stay alive is if we pass them on. He has also been saying that there is a true text, including the chant of the Woman Warrior. Now I know that myth is not passed on by text; it's mostly passed on by word of mouth, and every time you tell a story and every time you hear it, it's different. So there isn't one frozen authentic version; there are many, many authentic versions different from person to person.
  • as a woman, it's absolutely clear to me that we have the freedom of creating alternate myths, and for Frank Chin, as a male, there is a monolith, one monument of a myth. The other difference-I just discovered this recently and am very surprised at this coincidence-I think he just published his translation of The Art of War [Sun Tzu, ca., 500 B.C., ascribed to Sun Wu], one of the traditional Chinese books of war. He's brought this into the world at the same time that I am writing my book of peace. You can see the fundamental difference in values.
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