Asian-American novelist turned screenwriter/producer with her first novel "The Joy Luck Club" (1993). Tan began writing professionally in 1983 as a freelance business writer for IBM, AT&T and Apple Computers. In 1989 Tan published her first novel, "The Joy Luck Club," a rich, poignant story detailing the lives of Chinese women and their American-born daughters. The novel quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation before the publishers realized they had a potential major bestseller. With a little marketing push, the novel went on to garner near universal acclaim and sell over two million copies. A mainstay of "The New York Times" bestseller list for 75 weeks, "The Joy Luck Club" was published in 23 languages.
Tan's second novel "The Kitchen God's Wife" (published in 1991), told the story of an American-born daughter and her immigrant Chinese mother and the secrets that comprised their lives. This novel was another runaway success and also became the number one bestseller on the "Times" list. The next year, Tan wrote (in conjunction with illustrator Gretchen Schields) a children's book, "The Moon Lady". She made her screenwriting and producing debut with the film adaptation of "The Joy Luck Club" (1993). Directed by Wayne Wang (best known for "Chan Is Missing", 1982), the Disney-produced feature revealed an ethnically specific but universal story rarely shown before in the nation's multiplexes. The film opened to glowing reviews and healthy box-office returns.