Sui Sin Far

Biography

(1865-1914)

Far made a living for herself by writing articles and essays for numerous newspapers and magazines such as the Montreal Daily Star, Montreal Witness, Dominion Illustrated, Los Angeles Express, Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, The Independent (NY), and New England Magazine. In spite of chronically poor health and a limited command of the Chinese language, she managed to travel all over the North American continent and communicate with Chinese American communities in Boston, New York, Montreal, and San Francisco, earning her a reputation as a well-respected reporter for the growing Chinese American community.

In her essays, Far describes her often painful struggle to come to terms with her identity as a bi-racial woman in a culture rife with anti-Chinese sentiment. “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of a Eurasian” (Independent, Jan. 21, 1909) is her most well-known classical essay. Her writing is deeply personal and she tells her story with a well-crafted sense of irony.

Far was a pioneer, a voice for a people who were forced into relative silence by the cultural norms of the era in which she wrote. She never married or had children and died on April 7, 1914, two years after the publication of her most famous collection of fiction and nonfiction, Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings. (Clare Herlihy)

Essays by Sui Sin Far

Leaves from the mental portfolio of an Eurasian

I look back over the years and see myself so keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering that it is almost a pain to live.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana by Patrick Madden

Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies. If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.

"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier

2011 Symposium on the Essay
Welcome Table Press Symposium on the Essay

Friend of Quotidiana Kim Dana Kupperman's Welcome Table Press is hosting a one-day symposium at Fordham University on Saturday, October 15th, 2011. In Praise of the Essay: Practice & Form will feature talks and discussions by Phillip Lopate, Robin Hemley, Barbara Hurd, and more.

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