Berkeley, California, United States
Wong graduated from the University of California with a bachelor's degree in 1971.
1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States
Wong received his master's degree from San Francisco State University in 1974.
Seattle, Washington, United States
Wong worked at the University of Washington from 1984 till 2003, he held positions of a Director of the Creative Writing Program, a Chair of the Department of English and a Director of the University Honors Program.
Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award
Wong graduated from the University of California with a bachelor's degree in 1971. He received his master's degree from San Francisco State University three years later.
Wong worked at the University of Washington. He was on the faculty there from 1984. Wong served as a Director of the Creative Writing Program for two years from 1995, he served as a Chair of the Department of English from 1997 to 2002. After that period of time, Wong was a Director of the University Honors Program for three years from 2003. Creative Writing and Asian American studies is Wong's specialization. Additionally, he has worked as a visiting professor at such educational institutions as Mills College, the University of California at Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, the University of Washington, the Universität Tübingen in Germany, Jean Moulin Université in Lyon and at the University of Washington Rome Center in Italy. He is currently on the faculty of the Red Badge Project, which teaches storytelling to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, or anxiety disorders.
Wong is a prolific author. According to Washington Post Book World, when Shawn Wong first published Homebase in 1979, it was only the third novel ever published by a Chinese-American in the United States.
Homebase was Wong’s first novel. In the sixteen years between Homebase and his second novel, American Knees, Wong stayed busy with anthologies, mostly of Asian American fiction. Even before that first novel, in 1974, he had collaborated with Jeffrey Paul Chan, Frank Chin, and Lawson Fusao Inada on Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian American Writers, and in 1991 the foursome published The Big Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature. The unusual title word, as a Publishers Weekly contributor explained in a review of the latter volume, refers to the angry exclamation of Asian Americans, “long ignored and forcibly excluded from creative participation in American culture.”
The following year, with Ishmael Reed and Kathryn Trueblood, Wong edited another anthology, The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards, 1980-1990 (1992). This anthology was not strictly Asian American, and included work by such luminaries as poet Allen Ginsberg.
In 1995, Wong produced a second novel, American Knees. Critics have speculated that what Raymond is searching for is to love and be loved for himself, and ultimately his intellect or his ethnicity will not warm his heart. Wong’s subtlety and appreciation in showing the reality of his characters’ wants and needs defies ethnic boundaries, earning the praise of reviewers.
Critics have found that Wong’s vision of what it means to be Asian American is quite different from other more integrationist writers of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean ancestry. His interest is not so much on how to maintain contact with the traditional culture while assimilating into the American mosaic; rather, his desire is to find ways to preserve the Asian American identity as something separate from the American one. Wong has worked as a professor of ethnic studies, so, like the affirmative action officer Raymond Ding in Wong’s second novel, American Knees, his career has been closely associated with that identity.
Wong is a member of the board of directors of Before Columbus Foundation.