Edith Maude Eaton (1865-1914), who took the pen name Sui Sin Far, is recognized as the first Asian American published fiction writer. The daughter of a Chinese mother and an English father, she lived in England until age seven, when her family moved to Montreal. By twenty-five, Eaton was publishing articles about Montreal’s Chinese American community in English-language newspapers. At thirty, she began to assert her identity as a Chinese American writer (despite her ability to “pass” as white), writing stories about Chinese Americans at a time when the United States Congress maintained the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration to the United States.
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