J?n Xu?f?i (simplified Chinese: ???; traditional Chinese: ???; born February 15, 1956) is a contemporary Chinese-American writer using the pen name Ha Jin (??). Ha comes from his favorite city, Harbin. In 1984, he went to America and began to write about China only in English. His work has resulted in increased attention to Chinese culture and history.
Ha Jin was born in Liaoning, China. His father was a military officer; at thirteen, Jin joined the People's Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution. Jin began to educate himself in Chinese literature and high school curriculum at sixteen. He left the army when he was nineteen, as he entered Heilongjiang University and earned a bachelor's degree in English studies. This was followed by a master's degree in Anglo-American literature at Shandong University.
Jin grew up in the chaos of early communist China. He was on a scholarship at Brandeis University when the 1989 Tiananmen incident occurred. The Chinese government's forcible put-down hastened his decision to emigrate to the United States, and was the cause of his choice to write in English "to preserve the integrity of his work." He eventually obtained a Ph.D..
Jin sets many of his stories and novels in China, in the fictional Muji City. He has won the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel, Waiting (1999). He has received three Pushcart Prizes for fiction and a Kenyon Review Prize. Many of his short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthologies. His collection Under The Red Flag (1997) won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, while Ocean of Words (1996) has been awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award. The novel War Trash (2004), set during the Korean War, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Jin currently teaches at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. He formerly taught at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jin was a Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow for Fiction at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, in the fall of 2008.