Gene Luen Yang is the author of the 2006 graphic novel American Born Chinese, which won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2007. His other literary works include the novel Boxers and Saints, which explores the Boxer Rebellion in China and the “tension between eastern as western ways of being and thinking.” Yang describes his art as a type of “self-therapy,” and claims: “all my projects are ways of exploring my own neuroses, or the tensions within my own life.” Yang’s most recently published graphic novel, Avatar, the Last Airbender: The Search is the sequel to the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender and a prequel to the series The Legend of Korra.
Yang is also a part-time computer science teacher at a Catholic school in Oakland, CA, but has also taught math and art in the past. His current project is a series of graphic novels titled Secret Coders, which he feels “represents the coming together of [his] two worlds”. Yang majored in computer science but minored in creative writing, and “always wanted to bring these two things together, but they never quite fit until now.” Yang hopes that the series will allow young readers to become coders through following the journey of the story’s adolescent protagonists.
To learn more about how Yang combines creative writing, comics and computer science, listen to this podcast from HANSELMINUTES