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Michael David Kwan

Michael David Kwan was born in Beijing in 1934 to a young Swiss mother and a wealthy Chinese father. Kwan recounts his formative years in his award winning memoir Things That Must Not be Forgotten: A Childhood in Wartime China. Kwan settled in Vancouver in 1963 and worked largely in the travel industy. In 1988 he was invited to Beijing to teach tourism at a local university. Living on campus, he came in contact with students engaged in the pro-democracy movement that came to an end with the Tiananmen Square Massacre/Incident of June 4, 1989. He captured something of this period in Broken Portraits: Personal Encounters with Chinese Students (San Francisco: China Books & Periodicals, 1990). Under the name David Kwan, he published translations of modern Chinese literature into English. Kwan also wrote two plays and a screenplay. He was at work on a book about Chin Sihuang Di, the first emperor of China when he died following a critically brief illness in 2001.

Fiction (Folklore)

The Chinese Storyteller’s Book: Supernatural Tales

Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 2002.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Imagine a universe constructed in layers. At the top is Heaven–where the gods live. Beneath is the Earth, where people dwell. And beneath the Earth lies a magical realm of witches, vampires, ghosts, and immortal foxes capable of assuming human form. This is the universe of Chinese folktale.

The nine tales in The Chinese Storyteller’s Book show what happens when the worlds of Earth and the supernatural collide. …

Michael David Kwan first heard these tales told by street-corner storytellers during his childhood in China. He retells them through his own unique literary vision–through the lens of his own personality, experience, and imagination.


Michael David Kwan Interviewed by Linda L. Richards writing in January Magazine, August 2020 updated with a memorial notice.

Publisher Tuttle Publishing