VIRTUAL EVENT on 8/13: Karen Tei Yamashita, Sansei and Sensibility

August 11, 2020

By Christine Hong 

Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of seven books, including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently, Letters to Memory, all published by Coffee House Press. Recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and a US Artists Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is Professor Emerita of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Our very own Karen Tei (KT) Yamashita, ever brilliant and wonderful, will be presenting from her latest book, Sansei and Sensibility, a collection of short stories, this Thursday evening at 7 p.m.  You can register for this zoom event (jointly sponsored by The Humanities Institute and Bookshop Santa Cruz) here.  
Also, please check out Scott Rappaport's recent article on KT's book.  On what inspired her, KT states:
"The inspiration for this collection is my sister Jane Tomi. She has been a longtime reader of Jane Austen and a Janeite, a very conscientious and active member of the Jane Austen Society. Truth is, I hadn't really read Jane Austen, so I finally did, all of the novels, and wondered why my sister, a Japanese American sansei, would become a fan of this literature. I still don't really know why she's a fan, but as I read Austen, I began to think about my sister and me, growing up as we did in a tightly knit provincial Japanese American community in Los Angeles. And I transferred our experiences into that world."
I recall when KT was musing over whether the book should be called "JA."  I love the title, Sansei and Sensibility, just as much. 
Also, KT closes her interview with Scott Rappaport with a powerful point about ethnic studies teachers as essential workers:
"Now I think about our teachers in ethnic studies, American history, critical race and gender studies, all across the nation, how what they've had to say in their classes has been so necessary and essential to American education. They too are essential workers.  We need to support and to give them space."