The rediscovery story of John Okada’s 1957 novel “No-No Boy” — how young Asian American writers urged a new audience to recognize the book’s importance and launched its journey from obscurity to canonical work in Asian American literature.
In the early 1970s, Shawn Wong and a group of young Asian American writers discovered the novel, “No-No Boy” by John Okada, in a used bookstore for fifty cents. Originally published in 1957, it had not sold out 15 years later. No one had read it and the author had died believing his novel was rejected and forgotten. Wong will share the rediscovery story of “No-No Boy” — how young Asian American writers urged a new audience to recognize the book’s importance and launched its journey from obscurity to canonical work in Asian American literature.
Speaker: Shawn Wong’s first novel, “Homebase,” won a Washington State Governor’s Writers Day Award and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. His second novel, “American Knees,” was made into a film. Among Wong’s six other books is the landmark anthology, “Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers,” a collection largely credited as the first to showcase Asian American literature. He was featured in the Bill Moyers documentary “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.” Currently, Wong is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington where, for the last 35 years, he has taught courses in fiction writing, screenwriting, Asian American literature, Chinese-American history, plus courses in travel writing at the UW campus in Rome, Italy.
*Please feel free to bring your own lunch
The Osher at the J program series is sponsored by The Summit, A Kline Galland Community.Read More