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Sun 5/21, 2023, 7:30pm
R.F. Kuang with Anne Liu Kellor

What’s the harm in a pseudonym?

R. F. Kuang poses this very question in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author in the vein of White Ivy and The Other Black Girl.

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song — complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.

Rebecca F. Kuang is a Marshall Scholar, translator, and the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominated author of the Poppy War trilogy and the #1 New York Times bestselling Babel. She has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford; she is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale.

Anne Liu Kellor is a mixed-race Chinese American writer, editor, creativity coach, and teacher based in Seattle. Her memoir, Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging, was a 2021 IPPY Bronze Winner, and a finalist for the Foreword Indies Award and Washington State Book Award. Anne’s essays have appeared in publications such as YES! Magazine, Longreads, Fourth Genre, Witness, The Normal School, New England Review, and many more. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, The Whiteley Institute, The Seventh Wave, Jack Straw, 4Culture, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. Anne facilitates creative nonfiction writing workshops, including a seasonal online generative series for womxn, an annual workshop for multiracial people, and a yearlong manuscript program for women and nonbinary writers. Learn more here:

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

Note: Tickets to this event include a copy of Yellowface. Masks are required for the entire duration of the event.

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