Yunte Huang grew up in a small town in southeastern China, where at age eleven he began to learn English by secretly listening to Voice of America programs on a bettered transistor radio. After receiving his B.A. in English from Peking University, Yunte came to the United States in 1991, landing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a struggling Chinese restaurateur in the Deep South, he continued to study American literature, reading William Faulkner, Ezra Pound, and Emily Dickinson on the greasy kitchen floor.
In 1994, Yunte attended the Poetics Program in Buffalo, where, at an estate sale, he discovered the Charlie Chan novels. He was immediately hooked. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1999, he taught as an assistant professor of English at Harvard, where he began researching the story of the Chinese detective—both real and fictional—and the life of Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate who had authored the Chan novels.
Yunte Huang is currently a professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.