Meeting Amy Tan at Book Expo America

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One of the highlights of Book Expo America for me was meeting Amy Tan. Ok, maybe meeting might be too strong a word. I said “Hi” to her as she signed her book and slid it over the table to me.

Amy Tan holds a special place in my teenage years. Prior to The Joy Luck Club, I don’t remember reading any contemporary books about the Asian American experience. Especially books about mother-daughter relationships. Like any teenager, my relationship with my mom was fraught with drama and battles of being Vietnamese versus American. Being first generation Asian American has its unique challenges. The Joy Luck Club comforted me because I realized I wasn’t alone in my challenges. It was also the first book I read about the Asian American experience that wasn’t about refugees and war.

For some reason, when you’re Vietnamese, people want you to read books like “The Boat People.” Not exactly a subject I could relate to since I was born and raised in rural Louisiana. Her book gave me the motivation to search for more books about the Asian American experience, with emphasis on the American.

I’ve been a fan of Amy Tan every since. From the book to its film adaptation that gave so many Asian American actors their break.

During her BEA talk, Amy Tan discussed her writing process as well as her inspiration behind her newest book The Valley of Amazement, due out in November 2013.  I keep talking about how The Joy Luck Club resonated with me as an Asian American. However, the themes in the book are universal. I think many mothers and daughters can relate to the struggles in the novel. In fact, the audience during the talk was very diverse, in ethnicity and age. That is a true testament to Amy Tan’s work.

You can watch the official video of Amy Tan’s talk. I started to take one on my phone, but there were so many people walking up to take photos of Amy Tan, my video isn’t very good.

Which author or book made an impact on your teenage years?

About Thien-Kim

Thien-Kim is Editor of From Left to Write. She sneaks in her reading time late at night after her family is sound asleep. She also writes at I'm Not the Nanny.


  1. I definitely want to join you at BEA next year! Thanks for sharing so many inspirational books and authors with us. xo

  2. This is a great post :)

    I’ve always loved Tan’s books. She was one of the first authors to introduce me to a different culture. Ever since then I’ve been eager to learn all that I can. You’re so lucky to have met her, even if you only said hi!

  3. Thanks to this post, I listened to Amy Tan’s TED talk – mind-blowing!! I have loved Tan’s work, and now, I must read her newest!! Earliest literary influences? Dickens, Tolstoy, Hardy…I’m very traditional. but i’m open to learning, and expanding…


  1. […] no surprise that I’m a big fan of Amy Tan (especially if you read this site). Heck, we’ve even tweeted a few times! I’ve talked […]

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