The Joy Luck Club is Amy Tan's first novel, published in 1989. Just two years before the book's release, Tan was succeeding as a speech writer and self-proclaimed workaholic. Feeling unfulfilled, she found her calling in fiction writing. Tan explains that she did not set out to write a novel but a series of stories. She met a critic who told her, "If I were you, I would start over again and take each one of these and make that your story. You don't have one story here, you have 12 stories. 16 stories." Indeed, The Joy Luck Club was published as a collection of interrelated stories, but it was labeled and reviewed as a novel. It became an instant bestseller, catapulting Tan onto the international stage. Reviewers praised Tan's heartfelt yet gritty examination of mother-daughter relationships, following in the footsteps of Asian-American women writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston. The book exceeded an astounding 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Award. It received the Commonwealth Gold Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. Tan and co-screenwriter Ron Bass adapted the work as a feature film in 1994, which was directed by Wayne Wang, and in which Tan made a cameo appearance in a party scene. The movie was a great success, and it was nominated for a BAFTA award for best adapted screenplay.