youjin-04You Jin was born in Ipoh, a picturesque town in the north of Malaysia. When she turned eight, her entire family left Ipoh for the south of Peninsular Malaysia, and later made Singapore their home.

Under the influence of her parents, she grew to love books, and in particular, developed a voracious appetite for Chinese literature. By the time she was twelve, she had already read many famous Chinese literary classics.

You Jin’s interest in reading led her to develop a taste for writing. At the age of eleven, she submitted her first literary work “I Wish To Be a Little Writer of Fairy Tales” to the local Chinese language newspaper. The publication of this work marked the beginning of You Jin’s illustrious career in writing.

In 1972, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Chinese Department of Nanyang University. She was also given the Gold Medal Award. A year later, she obtained her first-class honours degree from the Chinese Department.

Her first job upon graduation was aptly in the National Library, where she spent three years surrounded by the books she felt so comfortable with. In 1976, she left the Library to pursue a career as a Journalist at Nanyang Siang Bao, a Singapore Chinese language newspaper, and soon became the Editor of the newspaper supplement. Her years as a Journalist had greatly influenced You Jin and her writing career.

In 1981, You Jin left Nanyang Siang Pao for a year teachers’ training course at the National Institute of Education, Singapore. On completion, she began a new career as a Chinese language teacher of a local Secondary School until 2000, and presently at the Junior College. The close bonds she had forged with her students over the years as a teacher gave her invaluable insights into the psyche of youth. This experience and her keen observations in school had contributed to her writing interests.

In June 2009, You Jin resigned as a Junior College teacher. She is now a freelance writer with more time for traveling.
You Jin’s literary works could be classified into 4 main categories: Short stories, novels, travelogues and essays. The popularity of her works could be mainly attributed to the fact that they primarily center on heart-warming facets of daily life, whether found locally, or abroad. You Jin has a keen eye for detail, and often finds meaning in every aspect of her experience, whether in her encounters at work, or in her extensive travels abroad. Her story telling is done through the experiences, the eyes, the ears, and the voices of people – and not through abstract concepts. Therefore, there is a vividness of animation and acuteness in the observations made in her works, making them exceedingly readable and relatable to the common person.

An internationally acclaimed writer, You Jin’s works are in great demand in many parts of the world. At present, she contributes to the newspapers and periodicals in Singapore and Greater China. To date (Feb 2014), You Jin has a total of 161books published, 80 in Singapore and 81 in Greater China (Including Taiwan and Hong Kong) and Malaysia. (Please refer to the attached “Catalogue of You Jin’s Literary Works”)

You Jin also has numerous accolades to her name.

  • 1982 & 1991: You Jin’s travelogue “The White House In The Desert” and You Jin’s novel “The Burning Lion” won the Book Awards given by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS).
  • 1991: You Jin was the first writer to receive the inaugural “ Singapore Chinese Literary Award”“ by the Singapore Literature Society.
  • 1994: “A critical Biography of You Jin” by Professor Wang Chunky from Hainan University, was published in China.
  • 1996: You Jin received the first “Mont blanc-NUS Center for the Arts Literary Award”.
  • 2000: The “You Jin Research Center” was set up by Chongqing University in Sichuan Province, China.
  • 2005: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pet. Ltd published You Jin’s Autobiography.
  • 2007: Wilson Tjandinegara translated You Jin’s book of short stories “The Sad water” into Bahasa Indonesia.
  • 2007: You Jin was invited to China (Cheng Du) for the inaugural Writer in Residence Project. The book on Cheng Du entitled “The Colorful City” was published in 2008 both in China and Singapore.
  • 2008: the National Library Board selected You Jin’s novel as a featured book for “Read, Singapore” campaign.
  • In 2009,You Jin received the Cultural Medallion Award.
  • In2012,Sylvia Li-Chun Lin translated You Jin’s Novel “Teaching cats to jump hoops” into English.

You Jin’s literary works are studied in Singapore schools and as a thesis subject at university. Her books were selected as compulsory reading materials for many schools in Singapore every year.

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