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Anchee Min

Anchee Min
Auchee min 3363.JPG
Born (1957-01-14) January 14, 1957 (age 62)
Shanghai, China
Alma materSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago
ChildrenLauryann Jiang

Anchee Min or Min Anqi (Chinese: 閔安琪; pinyin: Mǐn Ānqí; born January 14, 1957 in Shanghai, China) is a Chinese-American author who lives in San Francisco and Shanghai. Min has published two memoirs, Red Azalea and The Cooked Seed: A Memoir, and six historical novels. Her fiction emphasizes strong female characters, such as Jiang Qing, the wife of chairman Mao Zedong, and Empress Dowager Cixi, the last ruling empress of China.


Min was born in Shanghai on January 14, 1957. Her parents were both teachers.[1] She was nine years old when the Cultural Revolution began.[2] As a child, she was a member of the Little Red Guards and was made to report her favourite teacher, who was an anti-Maoist, to the authorities.[2]

When Min was 17, she was sent to a collective farm[3] near the East China Sea, where she endured horrific conditions and worked 18-hour days.[2] Eventually, she suffered a spinal cord injury.[2] She began an affair with the commander at her camp, a woman named Yin, although she attributes the affair largely to loneliness.

At the collective farm, Min was discovered by a team of talent scouts from the Shanghai Film Studio and was selected to become an actress for her ideal "proletarian good looks."[4] She eventually won the lead role in a propaganda film inspired by Madame Mao.[4] However, the film was never completed.[4] After Mao Zedong's death and the subsequent fall of Jiang Qing,[4] Min was ostracized and treated badly. She was depressed and considered suicide.[4] With the assistance of her friend, American actress Joan Chen, and the sponsorship of her aunt living in Singapore, Min obtained a passport and applied to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[4] She then emigrated to the United States. As she was initially entering the country, she was nearly deported when it was discovered that, contrary to what she had put on her visa application, she did not speak English. However, she was able to convince the immigration officer to allow her to enter into the country.[5]

After moving to the US, Min worked five jobs at the same time[2][6] and learned English by watching Sesame Street.[2][7]

Min's first husband was a Chinese artist named Qigu. Together they had a daughter, Lauryann. According to Min herself, she "lured [Qigu] into marriage, making herself pregnant by him although she knew he did not want a child" and subsequently their marriage fell apart.[2]

She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Fine Arts.[8]

She was married to author Lloyd Lofthouse.[9] She has a daughter named Lauryann Jiang who attends Stanford University.[10]



  • Red Azalea (Pantheon Books, 1994, ISBN 9780679423324; a New York Times Notable Book); Random House Digital, Inc., 2011, ISBN 9780307781024
  • The Cooked Seed: A Memoir. Bloomsbury USA, May 7, 2013, ISBN 978-1-59691-698-2



  1. ^ McAlpin, Heller (May 9, 2013). "'The Cooked Seed' details Anchee Min's fraught immigrant saga". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Anchee Min: 'If I had stayed in China, I would be dead'". Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  3. ^ McAlpin, Heller (May 9, 2013). "'The Cooked Seed' details Anchee Min's fraught immigrant saga". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Scott, A. O. (June 18, 2000). "The Re-education of Anchee Min". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Bertodano, Helena de (July 4, 2013). "Anchee Min: 'If I had stayed in China, I would be dead'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "An Evening with Anchee Min - National Writers Series". National Writers Series. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "A 'Cooked Seed' Sprouts After All, In America". Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "Anchee Min". Voices from the Gaps. University of Minnesota. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Overcoming Odds, Author's Success & Daughter's Talents Forged 'Self Worth'". Asia Society. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2016.

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