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In his scathingly funny book The Boat Rocker, Ha Jin, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier who emigrated to the US, draws on his knowledge of both cultures. He tells the story of a Chinese expat reporter determined to expose his ex-wife’s corrupt dealings with the Communist regime. The Washington Post called it ‘one of the most unsettling books about the moral dimensions of modern journalism’. Ha talks to ABC RN’s Kate Evans about rocking the boat in real life.

Supported by Macquarie University.

Ha Jin (International)

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Ha Jin is a Chinese-American writer, poet and essayist. Jin had only a brief, incomplete education before the schools in China closed in 1966 at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution and he began to learn English by listening to the radio. His volume of army stories, Ocean of Words, received the PEN/Hemingway Award, and his second book of stories, Under the Red Flag, which told of life during the Cultural Revolution, won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. In his first full-length novel, Waiting, won a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Jin won the latter award again for War Trash, becoming only the third writer to twice receive that honour. In 2008 he published The Writer as Migrant, which comprised three essays on literary exiles. Jin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006. His latest novel The Boat Rocker is a tour de force, a brilliant and darkly funny story of corruption, integrity and the quest for truth in the internet age.

Kate Evans (Australian)

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Kate Evans is a broadcaster on ABC RN's Books and Arts and Books Plus programs. She has a PhD in history, a lot of books, and many questions.