Questions Presented

Da Chen ’90

Novelist and memoirist Da Chen ’90 left China for America in 1985 at the age of 23. He is the author of seven books, including New York Times best sellers Sounds of the River and Colors of the Mountain.

Winter 2012

  • Print this article

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My late father, who always managed to smile even in the deepest misery.

How do you define success?

That we finally are able to see ourselves as who we are and be content with that. Also, that we dare speak the truth, in defiance of power, against self-interest.

Why did you go to law school?
Because I wanted to change the world.

Who is your favorite lawyer of all time?
Isaac Shapiro ’56, who helped me get my first job out of law school, when there were few jobs for Chinese law graduates.

Finish this sentence: You wouldn’t catch me dead without . . .

One thing you absolutely must do before you die?
I’d like to help build lots of schools, with the most caring and dedicated teachers, in the poorest corners of this earth. Schools are temples, synagogues, cathedrals, and mosques for the young of the world.  

Thing for which you are most thankful?
Democracy and fresh air.

  • Print this article

Photographed by Robert Gallagher