Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California in 1952 and grew up in the Bay Area. She graduated from school in Montreux before studying linguistics at San José State University as well as Santa Cruz and Berkeley universities.Her debut novel »The Joy Luck Club« (1989) was an instant worldwide success. The autobiographical volume »The Opposite of Fate. A Book of Musings« (2003) brought together childhood recollections, speeches, letters, travel reports and diary entries which shed light on Tan’s development both as an artist and in her private life. Tan switched to an almost fantastical perspective in »Saving Fish from Drowning« (2005) in which her protagonist, a deceased eccentric antiques dealer, floats above a group of travellers lost in the Burmese jungle as a quasi-omnipotent narrator. Here she provides a humorous reflection of the West’s blindness in its perception of other cultures. In 2008 Tan penned the libretto for an adaptation of her novel »The Bonesetter’s Daughter« (2001) which premiered at the San Francisco Opera. For her novel »The Valley of Amazement« (2013) Tan consulted numerous historians, conducted extensive local research and also turned to photographs of her grandmother for inspiration. Set in the early 20th century, the story tells of a mother-daughter relationship which is wracked by conflict and affected by political upheaval. The half-American, half-Chinese narrator Violet Minturn has to orient herself between two cultures, particularly when her mother Lulu, madam of a traditional brothel in Shanghai, is herself forced to become a mistress. Flashbacks finally reveal how congruent the ill-fated lives of the two women – their ambitions, their dreams, their hopes – really are. In detailed depictions, Tan refines a major theme of her previous prose works: the formation of individual identity torn between external compulsions and self-discovery.The numerous awards for Tan’s work include the Bay Area Book Reviewers’, the Commonwealth Gold, the Los Angeles Times Book Award as well as the Gold Plate Award issued by the Academy of Achievement in Washington, D.C. She performs alongside creative friends (including Stephen King, Dave Barry and Matt Groening) as a singer and percussionist in the band Rock Bottom Remainders, which donates its earnings to charitable and cultural causes. After Tan fell ill with Lyme disease in 1999, keeping her from writing for a lengthy period, she lent her support to the establishment of an assistance programme »LymeAid 4 Kids«. Tan lives in Sausalito and New York.