Lehman Professor Receives Coveted Writing Fellowship

December 16, 2005 | Lehman College

BRONX, NY—Lehman College Professor Terrence Cheng (English) is one of 50 writers from around the country selected to receive a $20,000 Creative Writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The agency received more than 900 applications for this year’s awards. Professor Cheng plans to use the funds to travel to China and Japan to conduct research for his book, Little Flower.

Set in China during the Japanese occupation of the 1930s, Little Flower is an historical novel that includes details about the atrocities committed by the Japanese military during this period. “The book is based on real events, ” explains Professor Cheng, “such as the Rape of Nanking, the Japanese military’s use of ‘comfort women,’ and Unit 731, the top-secret biological warfare facility that performed vivisections and other horrifying tests on live human beings.” He hopes to have the book completed during 2006 or by early 2007.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Professor Cheng emigrated to the United States with his family in 1973. He first became interested in the subject of the book after reading about the atrocities that were committed. “Writing the kinds of books I write has helped me learn so much about myself, my family and where I come from,” he says.

Professor Cheng is also working on another book, tentatively titled Deep in the Mountains, about a Chinese-American teen who visits Shanghai for a summer and befriends a famous Chinese artist.

His first novel, Sons of Heaven (2002), received an honorable mention in Barnes & Noble’s 2002 Discover Awards. An epic novel, it is set during the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Professor Cheng joined the Lehman faculty in 1997 and teaches courses in literature and creative writing.

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Contact: Yeara Milton/ (718) 960-8109