Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist and author of “Sarong Party Girls” (William Morrow, 2016) as well as “A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family“ (Hyperion, 2011). She is the co-creator and co-editor of “Anonymous Sex” (Scribner Books, 2022) and editor of the fiction anthology “Singapore Noir“ (Akashic Books, 2014).
She was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, In Style magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, National Geographic, Foreign Policy, Marie Claire, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, The (Portland) Oregonian, The (Topeka) Capital-Journal and The (Singapore) Straits Times among other places.
She has been an artist in residence at Yaddo, where she wrote “A Tiger in the Kitchen,” Hawthornden Castle, Le Moulin à Nef, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Headlands Center for the Arts, Ragdale Foundation, Ledig House and the Studios of Key West. In 2012, she was the recipient of a major arts creation grant from the National Arts Council of Singapore in support of her novel.
Born and raised in Singapore, she crossed the ocean at age 18 to go to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Unsure of whether she would remain in the U.S. after college, she interned in places as disparate as possible. She hung out with Harley Davidson enthusiasts in Topeka, Kan., interviewed gypsies about their burial rituals in Portland, Ore., covered July 4 in Washington, D.C., and chronicled the life and times of the Boomerang Pleasure Club, a group of Italian-American men that were getting together to cook, play cards and gab about women for decades in their storefront “clubhouse” in Chicago.
An active member of the Asian American Journalists Association, she served on its national board for seven years, ending in 2010.
She started her full-time journalism career helping out on the cops beat in Baltimore — training that would prove to be essential in her future fashion reporting. Both, it turns out, are like war zones. The difference is, people dress differently.