Bringing John Okada to the global stage

Scottish International Storytelling Festival logoOur favorite novel is getting more exposure in Europe.

I’m unexpectedly representing Seattle as a UNESCO City of Literature at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.  For the  program on Thursday, October 21, I will virtually present two stories about John Okada and the writing of No-No Boy.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival storytellers

I’m learning about the rich oral tradition of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, so this will be a much more informal and relaxed event than previous book talks. No PowerPoint, no images, just telling stories around the virtual campfire from Edinburgh, Dublin, Beirut, and Seattle:

“Global Hearth: Walter Scott and City Writers”
Hosted by Anna Fancett (Edinburgh), with Frank Abe (Seattle), Nuala Hayes (Dublin) and Dima Matta (Beirut).

Scottish International Storytelling Festival banner

The program is on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 8:00 to 10:00 pm Scottish time. It’s a ticketed event. #SISFImagine

Click on the image below for the full program. Ours is on page 18. Thanks to Stesha Bredon and Seattle City of Literature for the opportunity.

program page

Coming in 2023: The John Okada Centennial Year

John Okada © Yoshito Okada family
John Okada’s high school graduation portrait
© Yoshito Okada family

Novelist John Okada would have been 98 years old today. This means that two years from today, we will be observing the 100th anniversary of his birth. 

To celebrate his legacy and honor his work in writing the great Japanese American wartime novel, a number of institutional partners are being recruited for a series of events to observe 2023 as the John Okada Centennial Year in his native city of Seattle.  Continue reading Coming in 2023: The John Okada Centennial Year

The descendants of “WE HEREBY REFUSE”

Our graphic novel We Hereby Refuse weaves together the stories of three Nisei who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. On Sept. 18 we got to meet three of  their children and hear what they think about the book.

Continue reading The descendants of “WE HEREBY REFUSE”

First preview of our forthcoming anthology of camp literature

For three years, Floyd Cheung of Smith College and I have been gathering pieces and building the outline for a new anthology of camp literature commissioned by the publisher of Penguin Classics. On Sunday I presented a preview of our work on translations of Issei writing in camp in Japanese, part of what the late Yuji Ichioka called “our buried past.” This video screen is cued to the start of that discussion:

Continue reading First preview of our forthcoming anthology of camp literature

“Western Washington Gets Real” about “WE HEREBY REFUSE”

It’s not often a book gets four minutes of TV coverage, so check out this feature that aired tonight on KIRO7 News in Seattle by clicking on the image.

KIRO-TV news set Continue reading “Western Washington Gets Real” about “WE HEREBY REFUSE”

Postwar resettlement of Japanese Americans in Chicago explored in new mystery

Virtual Conversations for Clark and Division There was no reason on earth for me to have been born in Cleveland, Ohio, other than the policy of the War Relocation Authority to disperse families released from camp to cities in the East and Midwest.

That’s the untapped history explored by  Edgar Award-winning mystery novelist Naomi Hirahara in her groundbreaking new book CLARK AND DIVISION, centered on the postwar resettlement of Japanese Americans in Chicago. We had a delightful virtual conversation for the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 16:

Continue reading Postwar resettlement of Japanese Americans in Chicago explored in new mystery

“Seattle Now & Then” at King Street Station

“Seattle Now & Then” is a long-time fixture of Seattle media created by historian and photographer Paul Dorpat in 1982. The column is now produced by historian and photographer Jean Sherrard, who published the feature below on our graphic novel in the Seattle Times, online on August 5, 2021, and in the Pacific NW Magazine of the print Times on August 8, 2021. Jean also posted a 12-minute audio interview with Frank Abe on YouTube, shared below.

Pacific Northwest Magazine spread in print Continue reading “Seattle Now & Then” at King Street Station

Second printing ordered for “We Hereby Refuse”

This is a good news/bad news kind of post. The good news is that We Hereby Refuse has found its audience and flown off the shelves and out of the warehouses. Our first printing of 3,000 has sold out in just three weeks, and our publisher Chin Music Press has ordered a second printing of 3,000. Our title has held at #1 in various niche categories on Amazon. Amazon book listing

The history and literature of Japanese American resistance to wartime incarceration

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