Amy Tan is the author of such beloved books as The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses.

Why you should listen

Born in the US to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan rejected her mother's expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist. She chose to write fiction instead. Her much-loved, best-selling novels have been translated into 35 languages. In 2008, she wrote a libretto for The Bonesetter's Daughter, which premiered that September with the San Francisco Opera.

Tan was the creative consultant for Sagwa, the Emmy-nominated PBS series for children, and she has appeared as herself on The Simpsons. She's the lead rhythm dominatrix, backup singer and second tambourine with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a literary garage band that has raised more than a million dollars for literacy programs.

What others say

"[She] has a wonderful eye for what is telling, a fine ear for dialogue, a deep empathy for her subject matter and a guilelessly straightforward way of writing." — Orville Schell, New York Times

Amy Tan’s TED talks

Amy Tan on the TED Blog
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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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Amy Tan's opera "The Bonesetter's Daughter" premieres in San Francisco

September 15, 2008

When author Amy Tan spoke at TED2008 this spring, she was putting the final touches on a brand-new project: the libretto for an opera based on her novel The Bonesetter’s Daughter. The opera, with music by Stewart Wallace, opened this weekend in San Francisco. You can hear excerpts from The Bonesetter’s Daughter on the New […]

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Transcript

Where does creativity hide? Amy Tan on TED.com

April 22, 2008

Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, journeying through her childhood and family history and into the worlds of physics and chance, looking for hints of where her own creativity comes from. It’s a wild ride with a surprise ending. (Recorded March 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 22:52.) Watch Amy Tan’s talk on […]

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Quotes from Amy Tan

We all hate moral ambiguity in some sense, and yet it is also absolutely necessary. In writing a story, it is the place where I begin.
Amy Tan
TED2008 • 1.7M views Apr 2008
Inspiring, Funny
How do I create something out of nothing? And how do I create my own life? I think it is by questioning, and saying to myself that there are no absolute truths.
Amy Tan
TED2008 • 1.7M views Apr 2008
Inspiring, Funny
There are never complete answers. Or rather, if there is an answer, it is to remind myself that there is uncertainty in everything.
Amy Tan
TED2008 • 1.7M views Apr 2008
Inspiring, Funny