150 Years of Chinese American History
Peter Ho Davies
150 Years of Chinese American History

Laundry and railroad workers, silent film star Anna May Wong, and hate crime victim Vincent Chin: these icons of Chinese American history become recast in The Fortunes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016), a new multi-generational novel by the award-winning author Peter Ho Davies. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davis is a Guggenheim and NEA Fellow and was named by Granta as one of the Best Young British novelists in 2003. Come see the Michigan-based writer for a rare New York appearance and hear him discuss a book that novelist Celeste Ng calls “the most honest, unflinching, cathartically biting novel I’ve read about the Chinese American experience.” Davies will appear in a moderated conversation with AAWW Executive Director Ken Chen.

A slippery book between fiction and Asian American history, The Fortunes is a multi-generational immigrant novel that links three historical figures from the history of Chinese labor, representation, and activism in America. The book starts with Ah Ling—the song of a prostitute and a white ghost—who rises from a laundry worker to a valet for a railroad baron. Another character is the first Chinese film star Anna May Wong, who starred in Douglas Fairbanks’s The Thief of Bagdad but was forbidden to kiss a white man on screen or appear in the movie version of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. The third character is Vincent Chin, the 27-year-old Chinese American whose murder in 1982 Detroit galvanized a new generation of Asian American activism. (If you’re just hearing his name now, check out this editorial in the New York Times about why Vincent Chin matters.) The final character in the novel is fictional: a half-Chinese man named John Ling Smith who travels to China for the first time to adopt a baby girl. The book received a starred review by Publishers Weekly and was named one of the 21 Incredible New Books to read this fall by Buzzfeed. David Mitchell calls the book an “outstanding… poignant, cascading four-part novel about being Asian and western, about immigrants and natives, about belonging in a country and one’s skin.”

Peter Ho Davies’s previous books include The Welsh Girl (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and two short story collections, The Ugliest House in the World (winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize) and Equal Love (A New York Times Notable Book). His work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Guardian and Washington Post. The winner of the PEN/Malamud Award, he teaches at the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

This event is co-sponsored by the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

$5 suggested donation
Open to the public
RESERVE A SEAT!

150 Years of Chinese American History

Peter Ho Davies
Monday, September 12, 2016
7:00 PM
$0.00
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
112 W 27th
New York NY 10001
Upcoming Events
September 28 7:00 PM
Open the Horizons of Our Ascent
Threa Almontaser, Hala Alyan, Mariam Bazeed, Ghinwa Jawhari, Sahar Romani
RSVP HERE! The Asian American Writers' Workshop will convene a reading of local poets drawing on the experience of being SWANA in America, from daily resistance to categorization, to partaking in protest movements in support of a homeland half a world away, our poets will move and inspire you. This...
October 5 7:00 PM
Search History
Eugene Lim, Gina Apostol
RSVP HERE! This October, join the AAWW for an event celebrating Eugene Lim's highly anticipated new book, Search History. With the use of brilliant prose, this uniquely inventive novel explores American culture, technology, artmaking, and storytelling through the eyes of a grieving narrator. Eugene will be joined in conversation by...
October 12 7:00 PM
Concepcion: An Immigrant Family's Fortunes
Albert Samaha, Matt Ortile
PURCHASE LIMITED IN-PERSON TICKETS HERE! WATCH THE EVENT STREAMED LIVE HERE!  In October, AAWW celebrates Albert Samaha's powerful new release, Concepcion: An Immigrant Family's Fortunes. This intimate and incisive memoir explores the unjust legacy of imperialism in the Philippines and the pursuit of a dream through the lens of the...