Jan Wong, a third-generation Canadian journalist, is most notable for her role as the Beijing correspondent for The Globe and Mail from 1988 to 1994. Born and raised in Montreal, Wong graduated from McGill University, Peking university, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She currently writes for Toronto Life and Halifax Chronicle Herald, and teaches journalism at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.
As a self-proclaimed Canadian who does not consider herself “Chinese” or “Chinese-Canadian”, Wong seems to defy labels or stereotypes traditionally imposed on minorities and Asian –Canadians. She has had an unconventional, if not radical, past. In 1972 at the age of nineteen, Wong traveled to China during the Cultural Revolution to attend Beijing University. There, she became the first of only two Westerners to study in China during this period.
Following her education in China, Wong worked as a correspondent in Beijing for six years where she fled the Tiananmen Square massacre, escaped from potential kidnappers, and caught Chinese officials driving her stolen Toyota as a squad car.
Wong started her career as a journalist in 1979 as a news assistant for The New York Times agency in Beijing. She later returned to Canada, then studied at Columbia University where she received her Masters degree in journalism and worked for the Montreal Gazette, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal, before becoming a business reporter for the Globe and Mail.
Including her most recent book, Out of the Blue: a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption, and Yes, Happiness, published earlier this month (May 2012), Wong has written four other books. They are:
– Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now (1996)
– Jan Wong’s China: Reports from a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent (2000)
– Lunch With Jan Wong: Sweet and Sour Celebrity Interviews (2001)
– 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. (2007)
Date: Thursday May 24.
Time: 7:00 pm
Foo’s Ho Ho – 102 East Pender Street