Da Chen biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Da Chen
Phtot: Thomas Jack Hilton

Da Chen

Da Chen Biography

Da Chen grew up in the deep south of China, running barefoot in muddy fields and riding the backs of water buffaloes. As the grandson of a disgraced landowner, he was a victim of communist political persecution and hollowing poverty during the Cultural Revolution. His family was beaten, his father thrown in reform camp, and young Chen, at the age of nine, was threatened with imprisonment.

Da arrived in America at the age of 23 with $30 in his pocket, a bamboo flute, and a heart filled with hope. He attended Columbia University School of Law on a full scholarship, and upon graduating, worked for the Wall Street investment banking firm of Rothschilds, Inc.

Da published two memoirs (with one adapted for children as well) and four novels, two for children. In addition to writing, Da was a public speaker, a brush calligrapher and an accomplished flautist.

He died of lung cancer in December 2019 aged 57.

Da Chen's website

This bio was last updated on 01/03/2020. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Da Chen talks about how, growing up during the Cultural Revolution, he dreamed of escaping and becoming a warrior 'with mountains at his feet and the sky on his back'- and how these childhood memories formed the basis for Wandering Warrior, his first book for children.

What inspired you to become a writer?
Growing up in a society where freedom of speech was not allowed, I find it the ultimate luxury to be able to express your thoughts openly without having to worry about consequences. Writing, to me, is not only a noble calling but also a family tradition. My great-grandfather was a poet, so was my grandfather (in fact the titles of my two memoirs are from his poem), and my father was a playwright of traditional southern dramas. Writing is one of the four virtues of a Chinese noble man, along with being an accomplished calligrapher, chess player, and musician. I feel both humbled and proud to be able to continue the tradition of my forefathers.

Why did you choose to write for children after your success in writing for adults?
I write for children because they still believe. I write for children because they have the right to know. I write for children because they know a good story from a bad one, an authentic tale from a synthetic compilation.

How did you come up with the idea for Wandering Warrior, straying from the nonfiction genre of your other books?
Children have been gifted with a world of martial art magic in movies, but there is a dearth of written ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Da Chen at BookBrowse
My Last Empress jacket Brothers jacket Wandering Warrior jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Da Chen but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Wandering Warrior

    Try:
    The Conch Bearer
    by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  • Lian Hearn

    Lian Hearn

    Lian Hearn is a pseudonym for Gillian Rubinstein, a well-known Australian writer of children's books and plays. She chose not to publish Tales of the Otori, (the series originally consisted of three books but she later added ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Wandering Warrior

    Try:
    Across the Nightingale Floor
    by Lian Hearn

We recommend 4 similar authors

View all 4 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Some of It Was Real
    by Nan Fischer
    Nan Fischer is an Oregon Book Award finalist for her previous novels When Elephants Fly and The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    by Shashi Bhat
    Think of all the worst parts of puberty — all the moments you partially miss or brood about ...
  • Book Jacket
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...
  • Book Jacket: Bitch
    Bitch
    by Lucy Cooke
    In middle school biology class, many of us were told that men hunt and women nest, that testosterone...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

Who Said...

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good and not quite all the time

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.