Gene Yang

Gene Yang '03 (Image: Jesse Cantley)

CSUEB alumnus Gene Yang is a graphic novel phenom

  • July 21, 2011 5:10am

David Wagner, writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, profiled Cal State East Bay alumnus Gene Yang ‘03 in the article, “Graphic novelist a chip off old block.”  He compared parenting approaches in Yang’s latest book, Level Up,  which tells the story of a video-game-obsessed Asian American kid whose stern father pressures him to become a gastroenterologist to that of Amy Chua’s in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  Read article.

Yang explained that he started working on Level Up before Chua’s book was released. “As I started writing, I found it drifting more and more toward my relationship with my dad,” said Yang. I wanted to be a cartoonist, but he wanted me to be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. We constantly butted heads about this. Whenever this conflict is talked about in American media, it always takes the kid's side. And the immigrant parents are always seen as backward and oppressive. But as an adult, I look back and I think that my dad had a lot of valid points.”

With his 2006 work American Born Chinese, Yang became the first graphic novelist to have ever been nominated for a National Book Award.  

Yang earned his master’s degree in online education at Cal State East Bay. He was the cover story (PDF) in the spring 2009 issue of Cal State East Bay magazine. 


California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

  • Print This Page
  • Bookmark and Share