Jean Kwok


Member Since: 11/02/2015

Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the award-winning novels Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in 18 countries and taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. She has been selected for many honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award international shortlist. Jean’s writing has been featured in Time, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek and Vogue, among others. She has spoken at many schools and venues including Harvard University, Columbia University and the Tucson Festival of Books. A television documentary was filmed about Jean and her work. 

Jean immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood while living in an unheated, roach-infested apartment. In between her undergraduate degree at Harvard and MFA in fiction at Columbia, she worked for three years as a professional ballroom dancer. Jean lives in the Netherlands with her husband, two boys and four cats, and has just finished a new novel. 


Twitter Username: @jeankwok


  • Girl in Translation , Riverhead Books/ Penguin (2010)
  • Mambo in Chinatown , Riverhead Books/ Penguin Random House (2014)


  • Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature from Harvard University
  • Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Columbia University, Graduate School of the Arts

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Poetry