Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Wenguang Huang  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1965 in Xian, China

-- Wenguang Huang on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Wenguang came to Illinois when he was 25 years old.

Biographical and Professional Information

Wenguang Huang, a Chicago-based journalist, writer and translator. He is the author of ''The Little Red Guard'', a memoir that chronicles his growing up in central China during the 1970s. He came to Springfield, Illinois in 1990 and became the first international student admitted into the Public Affairs Reporting Program, working in the state legislature's research division. Huang earned his master’s degree in 1991 from what was then Sangamon State University, now University of Illinois Springfield.Huang has served as a staff researcher for the New York Times Beijing bureau, division manager of media relations for Rotary International, assistant vice president of corporate affairs for HSBC-North America, and as a writer for AON Corporation. He has written for ''The Paris Review'', ''Harper's'', the ''Christian Science Monitor'', the ''Chicago Tribune'' and the ''Asia Literary Review'' and has been the English translator of several books including: ''The Corpse Walker'', ''God is Red'' and ''For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey through a Chinese Prison'' by Lian Yiwu, and ''Woman from Shanghai'' by Yang Xianhui.Today, Huang lives in Chicago and works as a news officer at the University of Chicago.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir
ISBN: 1594488290

Riverhead Books. 2012

A Washington Post Best of 2012 pick

Three generations of a family living under one roof reflect the dramatic transformations of an entire society in this memoir of life in 20th century China

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xi’an, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huang’s grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandma’s burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the family’s memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China
ISBN: 1610392736

PublicAffairs. 2013

The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China's new president Xi Jinping.

The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood Bo's secret lovers the secret maneuverings of Bo's supporters the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo's wife—was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of China's all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bo's fall could affect China's economic development and disrupt the world's political and economic order.

Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang have pieced together the details of this fascinating political drama from firsthand reporting and an unrivaled array of sources, some very high in the Chinese government. This was the first scandal in China to play out in the international media—details were leaked, sometimes invented, to non-Chinese news outlets as part of the power plays that rippled through the government. The attempt to manipulate the Western media, especially, was a fundamental dimension to the story, and one that affected some of the early reporting. A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel returns to the scene of the crime and shows not only what happened in Room 1605 but how the threat of the story was every bit as important in the life and death struggle for power that followed. It touched celebrities and billionaires and redrew the cast of the new leadership of the Communist Party. The ghost of Neil Heywood haunts China to this day.


The Little Red Guard

  • Best Pick, Washington Post, 2012
  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

    Speaking Engagements

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