Jan Wong

Author and Journalist

Topics: Arts & Entertainment, Health & Fitness
Interview Date: July-3-2012
Extraordinary Insights: Be brave. It is not something you can "just be." You have to try everyday to be brave. It's a goal you aim for.

Audio-only version:

Jan Wong is a journalist and author of several books, including her most recent: Out of the Blue: a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness.

At 19, she traveled from her home of Montreal to China and became the first of two Westerners to study in China during the Cultural Revolution, a tale she recounts in her memoir, Red China Blues, My Long March from Mao to Now.

Jan became fluent in Mandarin and, as part of Chairman Mao's Revolution-in-Education Movement, Jan dug ditches, hauled pig manure and harvested wheat.

Later, as a foreign correspondent based in Beijing for six years, Jan was an eyewitness to the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square. Named one of Time magazines top ten books of 1996, Red China Blues remains banned in China.

Jan began her journalism career in 1979 as the first-ever news assistant for The New York Times bureau in Beijing.  In 1981, after graduating with a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she became a staff reporter at The Gazette in Montreal and, later, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail.

She currently divides her time between Toronto, where she is a columnist for Toronto Life magazine, and Fredericton, where she is a professor in journalism at St. Thomas University and a columnist for the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

Jan's other book titles:

- Jan Wong's China: Reports from a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent

- Lunch With Jan Wong: Sweet and Sour Celebrity Interviews

- Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found, published in the U.S. as Comrades Lost and Found and in the U.K. as Chinese Whispers.