Fan writes in both Chinese and English. She has four collections of essays in Chinese, and a novel, Butterfly Lovers, in English. Her work in English has appeared in Drunken Boat and Asia Literary Review. Fan is a professor of linguistics and Director of the Center for Creative Writing of the School of Foreign Languages at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, where she teaches one of the few creative writing courses in English as a second language in China. She was a 2012-13 Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.