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Anna Chen

Writer, performer and broadcaster

Born and raised in Hackney, east London, Anna had her first poetry published at 14 and remained unbeaten at Chess in tournaments with the boys' school. Cut to 1994 when she took her groundbreaking one-woman comedy show, Suzy Wrong - Human Cannon, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, making her the first British-born Chinese comedienne to do so. This was followed by her other solo shows, I, Imelda and Taikonaut: How To Save The World, Part I. She was possibly the first British Chinese comic on TV with her BBC2 debut in Stewart Lee's Fist of Fun in 1996.

Anna took time out from her performing career in order to organise the press operation for the anti-war movement in the aftermath of the events of September 2001 and during the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She also campaigned on Chinese issues such as the Morecambe Bay disaster and was the press officer for the community protest which successfully challenged the MAFF and media over the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) smear of 2001 resulting in a public apology and vindication from the minister. Anna was a founder member of the Chinese Civil Rights Action Group which grew out of the FMD action and was the precursor to Min Quan, a branch of The Monitoring Group.

She presented the ten-part series, Chinese in Britain, for BBC Radio 4 April/May 2007, repeated May 2008; wrote and narrated the Radio 4 play Red Guard, Yellow Submarine; and will be writing and presenting a profile of the Hollywood legend Anna May Wong for BBC Radio 4, to be broadcast 11:30, Tuesday 13th January 2009. She has often been heard on BBC radio talking about Chinese matters and current affairs.

She presents live events such as the Chinese City Showcase (2006 and 2008), and China Late at the British Museum for the 2008 First Emperor exhibition.

Anna currently writes a quarterly column for New Internationalist.

Anna's latest one-woman show, Anna May Wong Must Die!, is a lavish multimedia-illustrated personal journey through the life and crimes of Hollywood's first Chinese movie legend. Following on from Anna's BBC Radio 4 programme, Anna May Wong: A Celestial Star In Piccadilly (2009), it is a funny, witty and trenchant look at the first major star of the Chinese diaspora and asks where we all stand today.

Anna Chen
Above : Taikonaut: How to Save the World, Part I

"Charming, witty and sophisticated ... I am entranced, won over."
The Sunday Times

"Hard hitting and often hilarious ... arresting ... engrossing and provoking."
The Scotsman

"... sensitive, intelligent ... insistent and illuminating."
The Herald

"A charismatic and attractive performer … original, amusing, rude and rousing."
Manchester Evening News

"It's the stuff of brilliant satire ... riveting."
The List

"Very witty."
Graham Norton

"I'm taking you shoplifting."
Jenny Eclair

Note : If you'd like to contact Anna Chen, please follow the instructions at the bottom of the Enquiries page.


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Updated on 02 May, 2008


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