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CSUEB alumnus Gene Yang is a graphic novel phenom

Gene Yang

Gene Yang '03 (Image: Jesse Cantley)

  • 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. 


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