John Okada: His life and unknown work revealed in forthcoming book

UW Press book coverWe’re pleased to announce the publication in July 2018 of a new book  from the University of Washington Press that reveals new information about the life of John Okada and brings to light his unknown works.

Preorder now through the UW Press and use the promo code WST30 to get a 30% discount.

Here’s the synopsis just released by the UW Press on page 8 of its new Spring 2018 catalog.

JOHN OKADA: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy

Edited by Frank Abe, Greg Robinson, and Floyd Cheung

No-No Boy, John Okada’s only published novel, centers on a Japanese American who refuses to fight for the country that incarcerated him and his people in World War II and, upon release from federal prison after the war, is cast out by his divided community. In 1957, the novel faced a similar rejection until it was rediscovered and reissued in 1976 to become a celebrated classic of American literature. As a result of Okada’s untimely death at age forty-seven, the author’s life and other work have remained obscure.

This compelling collection offers the first full-length examination of Okada’s development as an artist, placing recently discovered writing alongside essays that reassess his lasting legacy. Meticulously researched biographical details, insight from friends and relatives, and a trove of intimate photographs illuminate Okada’s early life in Seattle, military service, and careers as a public librarian and a technical writer in the aerospace industry. This volume is an essential companion to No-No Boy. 

The contributors are Lawson Fusao Inada, Martha Nakagawa, Stephen H. Sumida, Shawn Wong, and Jeffrey T. Yamashita.

Frank Abe is a journalist and producer of the PBS documentary Conscience and the Constitution. Greg Robinson is professor of history at Université du Québec à Montréal whose most recent book is The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches. Floyd Cheung is professor of English language and literature and American studies at Smith College and editor of early Asian American literary works by H. T. Tsiang, Sadakichi Hartmann, and others.

The book has already garnered advance praise from two distinguished scholars:

“We have long needed a good book on John Okada. No-No Boy is a transformational novel, one of the most important pieces of writing ever in Asian American studies. Creating a context for it by examining the author’s life in detail, adding other bits of his writing, and analyzing his oeuvre from all angles is a mighty undertaking, but this is a book we need.”
—PAUL SPICKARD, coeditor of Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies

“This volume reminds us of the key place of Okada’s novel in the development of Asian American literary history. It makes us consider literary history more cogently, locating No-No Boy as both a literary artifact and as political and social intervention. By proposing new ways of reading and understanding elements—even controversial ones—in the text, this collection of essays highlights how novels that engage history continue to be relevant for new generations.”
—Rocio G. Davis, author of Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Families

Download the PDF flyer with the promo code to share with friends. Please encourage your institution to order the hardcover for your library. More to come in the months ahead.

2 thoughts on “John Okada: His life and unknown work revealed in forthcoming book”

  1. Thanks for the info. More than a decade ago I published a chapter in a book that Floyd Cheung co-edited. He was easy to work with, and a great person. I look forward to seeing the book.

    1. Dear John, thanks for the comment and the support. Yes, Floyd has been an outstanding collaborator with a special interest in the recovery of early and unknown Asian American writing, so it was a natural to work with him, and a true honor.

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