Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY—Bard In China and the Asian Studies and Languages and Literature Programs of Bard College are sponsoring a reading by Hudson Valley author Da Chen, whose book Colors of the Mountain has recently been released in paperback (Anchor Books, January 2001). Da Chen will discuss his book, writing memoirs, and also the differences between writing in one\'s native language and in English. The talk will be conducted in both Chinese and English and begins at 7:30 p.m., in Room 115 of the Olin Language Center. This event is free and open to the public.

The New York Times review notes that Da Chen\'s Color of the Mountain is \"a story about suppression, humiliation, vindication, and, ultimately triumph.\" Da Chen was born in 1962 in the village of Yellow Stone, People\'s Republic of China (PRC), during a killing drought and on the eve of Mao\'s Cultural Revolution. His memoir recounts the difficulties not only of day-to-day life during this period but also of the resentment and persecution he and his family encounter as the children of a landlord. His father is sent frequently to labor camps and the older children of the family are refused higher education and sent to work on the commune\'s farm. The memoir recounts how, overcoming insurmountable odds, Chen ultimately triumphs to succeed in attending Beijing\'s Language Institute, where he majored in English.

At the age of twenty-three, Chen came to America with thirty dollars and attended Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. He eventually received a full scholarship to attend Columbia University Law School. After several years as an investment banker on Wall Street, he moved to the Hudson Valley, where he resides with his wife and two children. In addition to writing, Chen practices the traditional Chinese arts of brush calligraphy and classical bamboo flute.

One evening in 1997 Chen read a chapter of the memoir at a meeting of writers at the Barnes and Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY. The national sales manager for Henry Holt & Co. was in the audience, and suggested that Chen seek out a publisher for his memoir. Random House eventually won the bidding war for Colors of the Mountain for $400,000.

Bard in China, established at Bard College in 2000, is expanding existing opportunities to learn about and from China through academic exchanges and cultural events. This year, two young Americans from Bard are teaching English at a high school in China and in schools throughout the county of Chong Ming, an island near Shanghai. Events at Bard include a concert of traditional Chinese music and presentations by historians and poets. The season will also include get-togethers between students from China and students of Chinese, for mutual enjoyment and support.

Additional funding for this program has been received from the New York Council for the Humanities. For further information, call the Bard In China office at 845-758-7388 or e-mail:

# # #


back to top

This event was last updated on 03-02-2001