Author Yamashita to Speak at JCI

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GARDENA — Karen Tei Yamashita, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award, will discuss and sign copies of her latest novel, “I-Hotel,” on Sunday, April 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.

Yamashita, a former Gardena resident, is a professor of literature/creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and the author of the critically acclaimed works “Through the Arc of the Rainforest,” “Brazil Maru,” “Tropic of Orange,” and “Circle K Cycles.” She is noted for her explorations of the rich culture and experiences of the Japanese Brazilian community both in Brazil and in Japan.

In “I-Hotel,” she turns her attention to San Francisco’s International Hotel struggle, which began in the late 1960s. The elderly residents of the hotel faced eviction when the property was sold and slated for demolition. The ensuing struggle to keep the residents in their homes became a catalyst for the Asian American student movement and for the grassroots community activism responsible for many of the organizations and services available to Asian/Pacific Islander communities today.

In her novel, Yamashita introduces readers to a variety of characters involved in the I-Hotel struggle and tells their stories with grace, humor, and compassion.

This event is presented by The Bridge: JCI Heritage Center, a volunteer community program focusing on the preservation and continuation of Japanese American culture and heritage as a legacy for future generations.

Admission is free. Contact the JCI office at (310) 324-6611 or [email protected] to reserve a copy of I-Hotel for $21.90.

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