Cover for Thousand Pieces of Gold   Cover for The Moon Pearl   Cover for Wooden Fish Songs   Cover for Sole Survivor   Cover for God of Luck   Cover for Chinese American Portraits   Cover for Pie Biter

RUTHANNE LUM MCCUNN, an Eurasian of Chinese and Scottish descent, was hailed by the Dallas Times in 1985 as "an American-Chinese author of remarkable talent." Her work, which has won many awards, has been translated into thirteen languages, published in twenty-two countries, and adapted for the stage and film.


Ruthanne signing books at the Chinese Historical Society of New England

Book signing at the Chinese Historical Society of New England.

"SINGULAR" New York Times June 21, 1891

Chinese Yankee tells the true story of Hong Kong born Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way), an orphan brought to America for schooling in the mid-1850s, but enslaved in Baltimore. Only sixteen at the outbreak of war, Thomas ran north, joined the Freedom Army, and was blinded in the first major campaign. He failed to fully recover his sight and, deemed incapable of performing the duties of a soldier, was discharged. Yet he reenlisted twice, saved his regiment's colors during the bloodbath of Spotsylvania, was lamed at Cold Harbor, and survived 9 months imprisonment in the dreaded Andersonville stockade. His health broken, but his spirit intact, he battled for survival and justice for his family and himself until his death in 1891. He was, as the New York Times noted, "singular."

"[Chinese Yankee] is an extraordinary story that still resonates 150 years later. With her empathy for the central character and her engaging and accessible prose, McCunn is ideally qualified to tell the tale."
Stuart Heaver, Hong Kong South China Morning Post, November 1, 2014.
"A true Civil War story that brings to life a uniquely American hero, Chinese Yankee gives the reader history that speaks to the heart with the aches of struggle, the challenges of identity, and the search for love against all odds."
Gus Lee, China Boy; Courage: The Backbone of Leadership; and With Schwarzkopf.
"Riveting. Couldn't put it down! Couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It's one thing to see a faded black and white picture, quite another to read it in living color, flesh and bone, joy and sorrow."
Carol Shively, editor,
Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War
"Uncovering remarkable documentary evidence, Ruthanne Lum McCunn skillfully details the life of Union soldier Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way). A fascinating read that helps us better understand American society during this critical period in our history. Read it."
Franklin Odo, Project Director, NPS
Theme Study on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
"Ruthanne Lum McCunn tells the truly remarkable story of Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way) with both a historian's skill at providing details and contexts and a novelist's talents for story and suspense. She engages her audience, draws them in...."
Ben Railton, American Studier,
April 16, 2015.


Two videos of Ruthanne talking about her work, topics for some of her talks, and a partial listing of previous engagements.

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Two of Ruthanne's books have dramatic adaptations. Thousand Pieces of Gold was made into a movie. Wooden Fish Songs was adapted for a concert reading.

Ruthanne's work has been translated into thirteen languages and published in 22 countries. This WEB Page includes a map and a bibiliography of the various editions.

These WEB Pages include a photo of Ruthanne, her biography, a bibliography of articles about Ruthanne and her work, and a detailed Vita.

Ruthanne's books are available from a variety of sources with special discounts for author appearances.

This WEB Page includes information on how to contact the author, her agent, and her publishers (with links to their WEB Sites), as well as subsidiary rights information.

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