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Saturday, October 28 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Voices of America: The Immigrant Experience Through a Writer’s Eyes

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The number of people who have left their homeland, either by necessity or choice, has reached its highest level since World War II. As the numbers continue to grow, the process of settling in new environments, both friendly and unfriendly, has never been more challenging. What happens to families and individuals who forsake all that is familiar? What is it like to try to make a home in unfamiliar territory and language? How long does it take before a new country feels like home? The Christian Science Monitor is bringing together contemporary novelists and memoirists who have tackled these challenges in their work. Writer and educator Grace Talusan immigrated to the United States from the Philippines as a child, and she recounts that experience—and other aftershocks of trauma—in her forthcoming memoir The Body Papers, which won the 2017 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Ha Jin, recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his 1999 novel Waiting, immigrated to the United States from China as an adult and is currently a professor in the Creative Writing Department at Boston University. His most recent novel is The Boat Rocker, which Kirkus called “laugh-out-loud funny while being as illuminating as ever.” And Marjan Kamali, whose family immigrated to the United States from Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution, addresses generational attitudes toward tradition and assimilation in her novel Together Tea, a Massachusetts Book Award finalist. Their conversation will be moderated by the Monitor’s Simon Montlake. Sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

avatar for Simon Montlake

Simon Montlake

Simon Montlake is a reporter at the Monitor in Boston covering economic inequality and social mobility. He's a former Monitor correspondent in Jakarta, Bangkok, and Beijing, where he covered political upheavals, civil wars, economic crises, natural disasters, and the Beijing Olympics. In... Read More →

avatar for Ha Jin

Ha Jin

Ha Jin was born in China in 1956. Xuefei Jin (Ha Jin is his pen name) was a teenager when China entered the Cultural Revolution. He became a member of the People’s Liberation Army at the age of fourteen. His novel Waiting, which won him the National Book Award in 1999 and the PEN/Faulkner... Read More →
avatar for Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali’s debut novel Together Tea was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and an MFA from NYU. Her short stories appear in... Read More →
avatar for Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan is a writer and writing teacher. As a child, she immigrated to the United States from the Philippines with her parents. She has published essays, longform journalism, fiction, and book reviews in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Boston Magazine, Boston Globe, The Rumpus... Read More →


Saturday October 28, 2017 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
Trinity Forum