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Dean Barrett first arrived in Asia as a Chinese linguist with the Army Security Agency during the Vietnam War. He returned to the United States and received his Masters Degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii. He has lived in Asia for over 30 years, 17 of those years in Hong Kong. His writing on Asian themes has won several awards including the PATA Grand Prize for Excellence and the BBC Overseas Playwright Award for South Asia..
Barrett is the author of several novels set in Asia, including Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior; Hangman’s Point – A novel of Hong Kong; Thieves Hamlet, the sequel to Hangman's Point, Kingdom of Make-Believe: A novel of Thailand; Permanent Damage - three novellas with Chinese themes; Don Quixote in China: The Search for Peach Blossom Spring; and A Love Story: The China Memoirs of Thomas Rowley, an erotic manuscript set in 1862 China. His New York novel, Murder in China Red, is set in Manhattan starring a Chinese detective from Beijing. Other novels include detective novels set in Thailand: Skytrain to Murder and Permanent Damage. His latest is Pop Darrell's Last Case, a detective novel set in NYC but with a Chinese theme.
He first became interested in China’s boat people in the 1970’s and wrote the text for a photo book on them entitled Aberdeen: Catching the Last Rays and also a children's book: The Boat Girl and the Magic Fish.. Several of his plays have been staged in New York City and elsewhere and his musical set in Hong Kong, Fragrant Harbour, was selected by the National Alliance for Musical Theater to be staged on 42nd Street.
Before returning to live in Thailand Barrett was a member of: Mystery Writers of America; Dramatists Guild; Private Eye Writers of America, BMI - librettist/lyricist.