kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Join us for a reading and conversation with four outstanding Chinese writers whose works upend the notion of a monolithic Chinese identity and uncover a much more complicated story about the diversity of Chinese diasporic experiences in America: 2017 National Book Award finalist Lisa Ko (The Leavers), crime-writer-turned-YA-author Ed Lin (David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets into an Ivy League College), Smithsonian Ingenuity Award–recipient Mimi Lok (Last of Her Name), and Max Yeh (Stolen Oranges), whom E.L. Doctorow desribed as “a writer on a rampage.”

Characters in the panelists’ recent books include an undocumented single mother who gets deported—leaving her eleven-year-old son behind; a sixteen-year-old boy whose social life revolves around weekend Chinese school in New York City’s Chinatown; a kung fu–fighting teenage girl in England; a homeless granny roaming the streets of Japan; and seventeenth-century Chinese emperor Wanli, who corresponds across the world with Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.

The event is free of charge and open to the public. Make sure to RSVP to get your tickets here.

Praises for Lisa Ko’s THE LEAVERS:

“There was a time I would have called Lisa Ko’s novel beautifully written, ambitious and moving, and all of that is true, but it’s more than that now: if you want to understand a forgotten and
essential part of the world we live in, The Leavers is required reading.” —Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth

“[The Leavers] uses the voices of both [a] boy and his birth mother to tell a story that unfolds in graceful, realistic fashion and defies expectations. Though it won last year’s PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction, Ko’s book is more far-reaching than that.” —The New York Times

“Quietly sensational… its underlying themes of displacement and deportation carry deep and desperately urgent resonances far beyond America, and fiction.” —The Guardian UK

“Beautifully written and deeply affecting, combining the emotional insight of a great novel with the integrity of long-form journalism, The Leavers is a timely meditation on immigration, adoption, and the meaning of family.” —The Village Voice

Praises for Mimi Lok’s LAST OF HER NAME:

“Lok has written the kind of understated book you catch yourself thinking about weeks after you finish it. Absorbing and deeply human, these characters — who either live in China or are of the
Chinese diaspora — feel more like people you might’ve known than like fictitious renderings of Lok’s imagination. A pleasure to read and mull over for days.”—Siobhan Jones, NY Times Book Review

“Lok’s literary debut is among the strongest of the year…Lok writes with the self-assuredness of a literary veteran and the insight of someone who’s spent a lifetime studying how humans
interact. It’s a gorgeous collection that urges us to do our best to connect with one another.” —Michael Schaub, NPR

“[An] impressive debut. . . . Lok is an expert at peeking into the souls of those who have been displaced or disregarded. . . . this touching collection is easy to pick up and hard to put down.”
—Publishers Weekly

“These stories are tough, gorgeous and humane. They feel universal and also deeply specific. I loved the brash intelligence, the way this debut collection can be fun, funny and incredibly serious. How many versions of each one of us are there? One hopes Lok will have time to find more.” —Nathan Deuell, The Los Angeles Times.

Praises for Ed Lin:

“Lin is an astonishing talent. ” —Junot Diaz

“Lin’s unsentimental, purely realist–not naturalist, not socialist, not postmodernist–novel raises hopes that American fiction may yet grow up. ” —Booklist, Starred Review for Waylaid

“For a guy who scoffs at the ghosts revered by so many of his fellow Taiwanese, droll everyman Jing-nan, a night-market food stall manager, ironically finds himself spending much of his time
chasing one as he investigates the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Julia Huang, in this darkly comic thriller from Lin. ” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review, on Ghost Month

“Hold on for a breathtaking, multi-cultural ride. With some good luck and a few well-placed joss sticks, you just might survive.” —Martin Limón, author of Nightmare Range, on Ghost Month

Advance praise for Ed Lin’s David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend:

“A beautifully observed, hilariously truthful, uplifting coming-of-age story that captures the heart and humanity of a Chinese American male teenager. I am impressed and inspired by Ed
Lin’s achievement and wish I could’ve read this book when I was in high school.” — David Henry Hwang, playwright of M. Butterfly and FOB

“This heartwarming coming-of-age story proves that fitting in happens after you gather the courage to assert yourself, and will engross any reader who is chasing success while feeling pulled between worlds: old country and new, suburb and city, parent and kid. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get straight As.” — Chris L. Terry, author of Black Card and Zero Fade

Praises for Max Yeh’s STOLEN ORANGES:

“[Max Yeh is] a writer on a rampage” —E.L. Doctorow

“Yeh’s work helps us to pose some of the most pressing questions with respect to our history, culture, and literary canon. Did Don Quixote, which played at being the translation of an Arabic
history, summon the specters of Spain’s oppressed Muslims or flippantly silence them? Does Yeh’s novel allow for a displacement of western storytelling by letting the Emperor’s perspective
intrude upon it, or can he only romanticize an “Eastern” way of thought inevitably constructed as the other of the “West”? Who has the right or the power to impose a history, a language, an orthography, a calendar, a clock time, and all of the fabric on which what passes as shared experience becomes possible? Don Quixote and Stolen Oranges demonstrate the violence of these impositions and appropriations, while nonetheless reminding us that the sovereign fools himself, becomes a self-parody, if he thinks he can control this absolutely.” —Jonathan Basile, minor literature[s]

“Max Yeh has brought to light one of the most extraordinary cultural convergences in the history of humankind, reconstructing the miraculous epistolary correspondence between the Prince of
Wits and the Ten-Thousand Calendars Emperor at the turn of the seventeenth century with a twenty-first century twist. In the process Yeh has plucked the sweet citrus of the Old and New Worlds, creating a translational space that uproots conventions and perceptions of East and West through the timelessness of storytelling—his pseudo-fictive madness akin to Sterne or Al-Mas‘udi or Spence’s Emperor of China or even the hallucinatory philosophical forays of Soviet outlier Krzhizhanovsky, though told in a nomadic style of his own soul-making, as he follows Christ among the Buddhists in Kashmir into the central kingdom before returning by way of a child’s baseball mitt.” — Jeffrey Yang, New Directions

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