Jessica Hagedorn Biography
novelist, poet, and performance artist
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
A novelist, poet, and performance artist, Hagedorn emigrated from the Philippines when she was 14 years old. She was encouraged in her writing by poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth, who edited her first book of poems, Four Young Women (1973). Hagedorn came to national attention with the publication of her first novel Dogeaters (1990), which was nominated for the National Book Award. Dogeaters is a phantasmagorical saga of the Philippines during the 1970s, at the height of the Marcos regime. Three years later, she edited an influential anthology of Asian American literature called Charlie Chan is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (1993). For 10 years she was the lead singer of the Gangster Choir band, which became the basis for her novel, The Gangster of Love (1996). Dream Jungle, her third novel, was published in 2003. Hagedorn added playwright to her accomplishments with the stage adaptation of her novel Dogeaters at the New York's Public Theater in 2001.
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