Jung Chang was born in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) she worked as a peasant, a "barefoot" doctor, a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the University of York, where she obtained a PhD in Linguistics in 1982 - the first person from the People's Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university.
Jung Chang is the author of the best-selling book Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China, which has sold over 12 million copies and been translated into 30 languages. Wild Swans has won many awards, including the NCR Book Award UK (1992), UK Writers Guild Best Non-Fiction (1992) and Book Of The Year UK (1993).
Dr Chang has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Buckingham, York and Warwick, the Open University and Bowdoin College, USA.
Her biography of Mao Tse-tung, Mao: The Unknown Story, was published in 2005 (by Jonathan Cape in Britain; Knopf in USA) and has sold over 800,000 copies in 14 languages and is being translated into a further eleven.