Song of the Boatwoman
Meiling Jin's stories explore aspects of Chinese and lesbian identity in a variety of settings, both in China and its diasporas, including the Caribbean and the UK.
Meiling Jin
ISBN number
Fiction, Short Stories
Country setting
United Kingdom
United States of America
Publication date
01 Nov 1996

She felt like a bird in a cage with the door open. Was she going to fly out?

Alice, like the other women in Meiling Jin's stories, is at a point of change: Li li is pregnant, alone and frightened at the 'School for Perfect Secretaries'; Gladys plots revenge against her racist neighbour; Margret, taking a trip back home to Malaysia, doesn't know if she can tell her mother that she is a lesbian; Hazel is not sure if her future lies with Sandra and 'a loving which scared her'. 

Whether her scene is London, China, California, Malaysia or the Caribbean, whether writing with unwavering and painful realism, wicked humour or lyrical imagination, Meiling Jin takes us inside the lives and experiences of her characters in ways which cannot but involve the reader. Each has a journey to make, each their song to sing. Female or male, lesbian or straight, black or white, all are in some part boatwomen.

Meiling Jin was born in Guyana in 1963, she now lives in London. She is the author of Gifts from My Grandmother, a collection of poetry published by Sheba, and stories for children. She is also a playwright and film maker.


Meiling Jin

Meiling Jin was born in Guyana in 1956. Her parents left there at the height of the racial conflicts of 1964 and came to London. She writes of her initial unhappiness in England, the persecution she and her sister suffered as the only Chinese children in her school.
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