Hwang was born on August 11, 1957 to two immigrant parents, both of whom came to California to go to college.
Raised in California, Hwang attended Stanford University, where he wrote the early version of his first play FOB. (It also received its first performance in his residence hall, directed by Hwang himself.) FOB emerged from a workshop he attended with Marie Irene Fornes.
After being workshopped at the O’Neill Hwang’s first play was picked up by Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, where it premiered off-Broadway in 1981.
Hwang joined the creative team for Showtime’s successful series The Affair in its second season, writing two episodes of the 10 episode arc.
With the controversy surrounding the #Oscarssowhite protest the Academy Awards expanded their roster of eligible voters for the cinema awards. In June of 2016 David Henry Hwang was selected as a voter for the Academy Awards.