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Lan Samantha Chang Edit Profile


educator , writer

Lan Samantha Chang, American writer, educator. Recipient California Book award silver medal, Bay Area Book award, James-Michener-Copernicus award; National Endowment for the Arts grantee, 1998.


Samantha Chang was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, the daughter of Chinese parents who survived the World War II Japanese occupation of China and later emigrated to the United States.


Bachelor, Yale University, 1987. Master of Public Administration, Harvard University, 1991. Master of Fine Arts, University Iowa, 1993.


She is Professor of English at the University of Iowa and Director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Chang has received fellowships from Stanford University (the Stegner Fellowship) and Princeton University. She served as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer of Creative Writing at Harvard University.

Chang received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa, an M.P.A. from Harvard University, and a BA in East Asian Studies from Yale University. At Yale, she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, and at Harvard, she received a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Chang is a Professor of English at the University of Iowa and the Director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop — the first female, and the first Asian American, to hold that position.

She also teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. In 2008 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in the fall of 2015 she accepted a fellowship at the American Library in Paris. The five stories in Hunger (1998) deal mainly with the position of Chinese in America, though the last of them is set in pre-Communist Shanghai.

Inheritance (2004) is the story of a wealthy but declining family in Republican China, beginning in 1925 and extending through the period of the Japanese invasion and the post-war flight to Taiwan and then the United States. Her essay "The Perfect Gift" appears in the anthology Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, published by W. W. Norton & Company in November 2013. Jonathan Freedman. "Transgressions of a Model Minority." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 2005 Summer.

23 (4): 69–97. Hetty Lanier Keaton. Feeding Hungry Ghosts: Food, Family, and Desire in Stories by Contemporary Chinese American Women. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2002 July.

63 (1): 187–88. U of Tulsa, 2002.


  • Chang received the PEN Open Book Award, formerly known as the Beyond Margins Award, in 2005 for Inheritance.



Nai Lin Chang

Helen Chung-Hung (Hsiang) Chang