Principal Faculty

Karen T Yamashita
  • Title
    • Professor Emerita
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Literature Department
    • Creative Writing Program
    • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliations Latin American & Latino Studies, East Asian Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone
    831 459-8994
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 231#
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Humanities 1, Rm 231/1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz California 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Asian American Pacific Islander History, Creativity

Research Interests

History and anthropology of Japanese immigration to Brazil; Asian American literature; modern fiction; playwriting

Biography, Education and Training

Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of eight books, including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently,Sansei & Sensibility, all published by Coffee House Press.  Recipient of the National Book Foundation 2021 Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Literature and a US Artists Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is currently Dickson Emeriti Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  



Honors, Awards and Grants

2021 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

2021 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship

2018 John dos Passos Award for Literature

2012 - 15 UC Presidential Chair, Feminist Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, co-holder with Professor Bettina Aptheker, Feminist Studies

2012 Association for Asian American Studies Prose Book Award for I Hotel
2011 - 12 United States Artists Ford Fellowship
2011 American Book Award for I Hotel, Before Columbus Foundation
2011 Asian American Literary Award, First Finalist in Fiction, I Hotel, Asian American Writers' Workshop, NY
2011 Asian American Members' Choice Award, I Hotel, Asian American Writers' Workshop, NY
2010 National Book Award Finalist in Fiction for I Hotel
2010 California Book Award, Gold Medal in Fiction for I Hotel, Commonwealth Club, San Francisco
2010 Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award in Fiction for I Hotel
2009 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity, UCSC
2001 Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSC
2000 College Commendations for outstanding service to the Kresge College community, UCSC
1998 Finalist, Paterson Fiction Prize for Tropic of Orange, by the Poetry Center, Paterson, NJ
1998 Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, Carleton College
1992 Janet Heidinger Kafka Award for Through the Arc of the Rain Forest
1991 American Book Award for Through the Arc of the Rain Forest
1979 First Place, James Clavell American-Japanese Short Story Contest, for "Asaka-no-Miya"
1975 First Place, Amerasia Journal Short Story Contest, for "The Bath"
1975 First Place, Rafu Shimpo Short Story Contest, for "Tucano"
1975 First Place, Gremio Literario: Colonia Short Story Contest, for Portuguese translation of "Tucano"

Selected Publications

  • Sansei & Sensibility, Coffee House Press, 2020
  • Letters to Memory, Coffee Houses Press, 2017
  • Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance, Coffee House Press, 2014
  • I Hotel, Coffee House Press, 2010
  • Circle K Cycles, Coffee House Press, 2001
  • Tropic of Orange, Coffee House Press 1997
  • Brazil-Maru, Coffee House Press, 1992
  • Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Coffee House Press, 1990

Teaching Interests

Creative Writing Fiction, Asian American Literature