Jung Chang Biography


Jung Chang is the author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991), which has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, except in China where it is banned, as are all of her other books. She wrote a ground-breaking trilogy of the history and personalities of modern China: Mao: The Unknown Story (2005, with Jon Halliday), which was described by Time magazine as “an atom bomb of a book”; Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China (2013), a New York Times “notable book”; and Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China (2019), which is regarded as “a monumental work” (Spectator, UK).

Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages. She has won many awards, including the UK Writers’ Guild Best Non-Fiction and Book of the Year UK, and has received honorary doctorates from a number of universities in the UK and USA (Buckingham, York, Warwick, Dundee, the Open University, University of West London, and Bowdoin College). She is an Honorary Fellow of SOAS University of London.

She has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to literature and to history.

Jung Chang was born in Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) she worked as a peasant, a “barefoot” doctor, a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a PhD in Linguistics in 1982 at the University of York – the first person from Communist China to receive a doctorate from a British university.


Jung Chang
Photograph: Jon Halliday
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