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Ying Chen

Ying Chen was born in Shanghai, China. She obtained a degree in French language and literature from Shanghai University in 1983 and worked as a translator and interpreter before emigrated to Montreal in 1989. Chen completed an M.A. at McGill University in 1991. She published her first novel, La mémoire de l’eau, in French in 1992 and has published many others since then including: Les lettres chinoises, Immobile, Le champ dans la mer, Querelle d’un squelette avec son double and Le mangeur. L’ingratitude, published in 1995, was translated into English and published in both Canada and the United States in 1998. It was also translated into Spanish, Serbian, Italian, and Chinese. Chen now lives in Vancouver, B.C.



Translated from the French by Carol Volk.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998.
PS9555.H44 I5413 1995

L’ingratitude: roman (Original French language version)

Montréal: Leméac, 1995.
PS9555.H44 I54 1995

Publisher’s Synopsis

All her life, Yan-Zi has been dominated by her mother, who scolds her, corrects her behavior and manners, urges her to adopt bourgeois mores, and ceaselessly reminds her that her very life is a debt she owes to others, especially her mother. So Yan-Zi decides to commit suicide in order to shake off the yoke of her mother’s love. In this novel she tells the story of her last days with a cool, cruel detachment that recalls Camus’s The Stranger.

Awards and Honours (for the original French language edition)

1996 Prix des libraires du Québec–Lauréats Roman québécois
1995 Prix Québec-Paris (Winner)
1995 Governor General’s Literary Awards, Fiction–French language (Nominated)
1995 Prix fémina (Fémina Prize) (Nominated)


Passages: Welcome Home to Canada

PS8081 .P39 2002

Chen, Ying.. “On the Verge of Disappearance (End of the Chinese Letters).” In Passages: Welcome Home to Canada. Initiated by Westwood Creative Artists and the Dominion Institute. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2002.

Contributors: Michelle Berry • Ying Chen • Brian D. Johnson • Dany Laferriere • Alberto Manguel • Anna Porter • Nino Ricci • Shyam Selvadurai • M. G. Vassanji • Ken Wiwa • Moses Znaimer

This book grew out of the Dominion Institute’s Memory Project.


Quatre mille marches: un rêve chinois

Paris: Seuil, 2004.
PS9555 .H44 Z474 2004

Awards and Honors

2000 Gabrielle Roy Prize for writing on Canadian literature (French langauge finalist?)

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Clarinval, Olivier. “Temple of the Unfamiliar: Childhood Memories in Nina Bouraoui, Ying Chen and Gisele Pineau.” Ph.D. diss., University of Oregon, 2007.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Connolly, Allison Spellman. “Transculturality and the Francophone Mother.” Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Côté, Nicole. “Contextualisation de la relation mère-fille dans L’Ingratitude de Ying Chen.” In Mothering Canada: Interdisciplinary Voices = La maternité au Canada: voix interdisciplinaires, eds. Shawna Geissler … [et al.], 65-80. Toronto: Demeter Press, 2010.
HQ759 .M684 2010

Dagenais, Natasha. “The River of Memory: Traduction de “La Memoire de l’eau” de Ying Chen.” M.A. diss., Université de Sherbrooke, 2001.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Fu, Roy Yong Le. “Struggling Productions: Ying Chen and the Representation of Cultural Identity in Quebec, 1992-1999.” M.A. diss., Concordia University, 2000.

Kennedy, Janet T. “Contemporary Canadian Women’s Fiction: A Jungian Reading of Ying Chen’s “L’Ingratitude”, Christiane Frenette’s “La Terre ferme”, Ann-Marie MacDonald’s “Fall on Your Knees”, and Anne Michaels’ “Fugitive Pieces”.” Ph.D. diss., Universite de Sherbrooke, 2002.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Lorre, Christine. “Ying Chen’s “Poetic Rebellion”: Relocating the Dialogue, In Search of Narrative Renewal.” Chap. in Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography, eds. Eleanor Ty and Christl Verduyn. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008,  267-298.
PS8089.5 .A8 A84 2008

Ng, Maria. “Abusive Mothers: Literary Representations of the Mother Figure in Three Ethnic Chinese Writers: Hsieh Ping-ying, Denise Chong, and Chen Ying.” In Asian Women: Interconnections, ed. Tineke Hellwig and Sunera Thobani, 139-160. Toronto: Women’s Press, 2006.
HQ1726.A834 2006

Rodgers, Julie.  “Ying Chen: Experiment and Innovation.” In Ten Canadian Writers in Context, eds. Marie Carrière, Curtis Gillespie and Jason Purcell, 3-9. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2016.
PS8071.5 .T45 2016

Yamade, Yuko. “Identity, Translation and Embodiment in Migrant and Minority Women’s Writings in Japan, English Canada and Quebec.” Ph.D. diss., Université de Montréal, 2002.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Yeager, Jack A. “Bach Mai and Ying Chen: Immigrant Identities in Quebec.” In Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Quebec, eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004, 137-147.
PQ3917 .Q3 T49 2004


Publisher Douglas & McIntyre