Advance copies of JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy arrived in the mail this week, and the books are a joy to hold. The covers feel good in the hand, with the same texture as the 2014 paperback edition of No-No Boy itself. I’ll be lugging dozens of copies on the bus to the upcoming Tule Lake and Minidoka Pilgrimages for the booksellers there. If you’re also going, please signal your attendance at these Facebook Events for our Tule Lake workshop, “No-No Boys, John Okada, and the Kibei Resistance at Tule Lake,” with Martha Nakagawa and Takako Day on July 1, or at the Minidoka panel, “John Okada, No-No Boy, and the Draft Resistance at Minidoka, on July 6.
In advance of our imminent publication, which is now slated for July 13, co-editor Greg Robinson has just posted a treat for you — an outtake from our book, something we really tried to get in but could not fit into our maximum page count. It’s a look at how No-No Boy was originally received in 1957, titled “First Impressions: Early Reviews of John Okada’s No-No Boy.” The article appears on the Discover Nikkei blog, and we’ve provided links to the texts of all the 1957 reviews cited by Greg here on this blog.
Thanks to all who came to our “Okada and Beyond” panel at the American Literature Association annual conference in San Francisco on May 25. We had a lively discussion about the echoes between what happened post-Pearl Harbor, post-9/11, and what’s being revealed about now about American society post-election. Thanks to panel chairs David Cho and Christine Kitano for organizing the successful session. #ALA2018 #CAALS
It was also great to see author Ishmael Reed bringing the fight to the ALA conference, and speaking on the role of independent publishers in saving black literature at risk of being lost. Ishmael gave us permission to reprint Lawson Inada’s poem dedicated to John Okada from the 1974 Yardbird Reader 3 , and he knows the legend well. He asked again whether we have found Okada’s lost second novel. I had to tell him, sadly, no.