[In-Person] Far From the Rooftop of the World: On Tibetan Refugees Across Continents
[In-Person] Far From the Rooftop of the World: On Tibetan Refugees Across Continents


This October, join AAWW, SAJA, Amy Yee, and Jyoti Thottam for a discussion of Yee’s new book “Far From the Rooftop of the World: Travels Among Tibetan Refugees on Four Continents.”

In 2008, China’s government cracked down on protests throughout Tibet, and Amy Yee, then a journalist for the Financial Times, found herself covering a press conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, his exile home in India. She never imagined a hug from the spiritual leader would spark a global, fourteen-year journey to spotlight the stories of Tibetans in exile. This “beautifully observed” (Peter Hessler, New Yorker writer and MacArthur Fellow) nonfiction narrative and travelogue is set in India – as well as Australia, Belgium and New York. It gives new insight into relationships between Tibetan and Chinese people, especially since Amy is herself Chinese American. This “marvelous book” (Paul A. Cohen, Harvard University) focuses on ordinary but extraordinary Tibetans and stories of people navigating between worlds and multiple identities; and preserving culture even in exile and amid forced migration.

Peter Hessler, New Yorker writer, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award finalist: “Beautifully observed, with full-bodied, engaging characters who are never lost in the shadow of Chinese politics. Amy Yee has done a wonderful job of capturing the details, dramas, and dignities of Tibetan life in exile.”

Ha Jin, National Book Award winner: “Amy Yee describes displaced Tibetans intimately and truthfully…Their displacement cannot crush their humanity. Instead, their losses have strengthened them.”

Review from the Wilson Center in Washington DC: “Over the course of more than a decade, her interactions and correspondences with her Tibetan contacts blossomed into a non-fiction narrative that is among the first of its kind. Yee’s focus on authentic lived experiences—stories that could only be written with deep and trusted connections—establishes a model for responsible and effective refugee representation.”

Amy Yee is an award-winning journalist, most recently with Bloomberg/CityLab and previously a Financial Times correspondent in New York and India where she lived for seven years. She has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, NPR and 30+ media outlets.  She won the United Nations Correspondents Association award three times; four awards from South Asian Journalists Association; and first place from Association of Healthcare Journalists for analysis about reducing deaths of children in India and Bangladesh. In 2023 she won the Asian American Journalists Association’s award for political reporting about protecting voting rights of immigrant voters, and a Society of Professional Journalists award for racial equity reporting.  Amy has had four Notable Essays in the Best American Essays. She has reported from 20+ countries, including ten in Africa, mostly as a solo freelance journalist. Amy is a MacDowell and Logan Nonfiction Fellow and a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, Columbia Journalism School, and Wellesley. She has an MFA from Hunter. When she was starting her journalism and writing career, she took several influential classes at the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Jyoti Thottam leads the editorial board of The New York Times, which she joined in March 2018 and is the author of “Sisters of Mokama,” published by Viking in 2022. Prior to the Times, she was a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for Time magazine, where she spent four years as South Asia Bureau Chief; as well as Al Jazeera America and local newspapers in New York and Florida. Her work has appeared in The Believer, the Village Voice and many other publications. She was born in India, grew up in SugarLand, Texas, and graduated from Yale University and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.


ASL Interpretation is provided by our friends at Pro Bono ASL. Elevator to the 6th floor is present. Please reach out to events@aaww.org for additional accessibility requests, including ADA accessible bathrooms, chairs with added back support, or beyond. AAWW is a fragrance-free space.

[In-Person] Far From the Rooftop of the World: On Tibetan Refugees Across Continents

Wednesday, October 18, 2023
7:00 PM
Asian American Writers Workshop
112 W. 27th Street, 6th Floor
New York New York 10001
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