Karen Yamashita’s Latest: ‘Anime Wong’

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Coffee House Press has released “Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance,” the latest book by Karen Tei Yamashita.

Anime-WongEdited and with an afterword by Stephen Hong Sohn, “Anime Wong” is a memory book of performances, most of which were produced collaboratively, reflecting questions of gender, identity, Orientalism, and racial politics. Yamashita’s theatrical work is fiction interpreted by the body in real time; these kinetic encounters, complete with giant foam-rubber sushi and cyborg kung fu fighters, create a space for humor, interaction, and epiphany, where Anna May Wong is transformed to Anime Wong, superstar of CyberAsia.

Yamashita is the author of “Through the Arc of the Rain Forest,” “Brazil-Maru,” “Tropic of Orange,” “Circle K Cycles,” and “I Hotel,” all published by Coffee House Press. “I Hotel” was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award and awarded the California Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award.

Her debut novel, “Through the Arc of the Rain Forest,” received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award and the American Book Award.

Yamashita has been a U.S. Artists Ford Foundation fellow and is currently professor of literature and creative writing and the co-holder of the University of California Presidential Chair for Feminist & Critical Race & Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz, where she also received the Chancellor’s Award for Diversity in 2009.

A California native who has also lived in Brazil and Japan, Yamashita has also written a number of plays, including “Hannah Kusoh,” “Noh Bozos” and “O-Men,” which were produced by East West Players in Los Angeles.

Her upcoming readings in Los Angeles are as follows:

Saturday, March 15, at 1 p.m. at Little Tokyo Branch Library, 203 S. Los Angeles St. Presented in partnership with Kinokuniya Bookstore. Copies of the book will be sold by Friends of the Little Tokyo Branch Library. Info: (213) 612-0525, www.lapl.org/branches/little-tokyo

Sunday, April 6, at 2 p.m. at Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. Info: (213) 625-0414, www.janm.org

Monday, April 7, at 5 p.m. at UCLA, 1347 Law Building, 385 Charles E. Young Drive East

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