In this episode, we’ll discuss the life and work of Japanese American author Hisaye Yamamoto. You can learn more about Yamamoto by exploring our virtual exhibit on Google Arts and Culture. I also highly recommend you read her work as it is powerful and accessible. As we were creating the exhibit, I found myself engrossed by her writing, particularly her short stories. Not only are they actually quite short, but her language is precise and engaging and she is able to express a multitude of ideas in elegantly simple prose. Seventeen Syllables is a great place to start. Go read it!
Now, a little bit about our guests. Today we’re joined by University of Colorado Boulder professor Cheryl Higashida and young adult author Misa Sugiura.
Cheryl works on ethnic and American literatures, sound studies, and Marxism. Her essays have appeared in American Literature, American Quarterly, and Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans. She is the author of Black Internationalist Feminism: Women Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995. Her current research is on sound technology, social movements, and race in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Misa Sugiura writes stories for young people. Her debut novel, It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, won the Asian Pacific Islander Librarian’s Association Award for Young Adult Literature, and her critically acclaimed second novel, This Time Will Be Different, was selected by the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and the Young Adult Library Services Association as one of the best YA novels of 2019. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters, will be released on June 8, 2021 and has been praised by the American Library Association as “hilariously awkward” and “honestly poignant.” Her short stories have appeared in an anthology of immigration stories for teens, and in the New York Times. Misa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two sons, and three cats. You can find her online at misasugiura.com and @misallaneous1 on Twitter and Instagram. Misa is also one of more than 30 authors featured in our special exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today, available to explore in-person or online at My-America.org.