Hirahara to Discuss ‘Life After Manzanar’ at Torrance Library

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TORRANCE — Naomi Hirahara and Heather Lindquist will present their new book, “Life After Manzanar,” on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance Blvd. in Torrance.

They will be joined by poet-activist traci kato-kiriyama.

“Life After Manzanar” is a nuanced account of the “resettlement” — the relatively unexamined period when ordinary people of Japanese ancestry, having been unjustly imprisoned during World War II, were finally released from custody. Given $25 and a one-way bus ticket to make a new life, some ventured east to Denver and Chicago to start over, while others returned to Southern California only to face discrimination and an alarming scarcity of housing and jobs.

Hirahara and Lindquist weave new and archival oral histories into an engaging narrative that illuminates the lives of former internees in the postwar era, both in struggle and unlikely triumph. Readers will appreciate the painstaking efforts that rebuilding required, and will feel inspired by the activism that led to redress and restitution — and that built a community that even now speaks out against other racist agendas.

For more information on the venue, call (310) 618-5959 or visit www.library.torranceca.gov/.

Hirahara is a writer of both nonfiction books and mysteries. With Geraldine Knatz, she co-wrote “Terminal Island: The Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor,” which won a Bruckman Award for Excellence and an Award of Merit from the Conference of California Historical Societies. Her Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mysteries have been published in France, Japan, and Korea. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she also curates historical exhibitions and writes articles and short stories.

Lindquist is the editor of “Children of Manzanar,” a co-publication by Heyday and Manzanar History Association, which received an award of excellence from the Association of Partners for Public Lands in 2013, and she was one of several contributing authors to “Freedom in My Heart: Voices from the United States National Slavery Museum,” published by National Geographic in 2007. She has also written numerous exhibit scripts for museums, visitor centers, and national parks across the country, including Manzanar National Historic Site; the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville, Ga.; the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

“Through this thoughtful story, we see how the harsh realities of the incarceration experience follow real lives, and how Manzanar will sway generations to come. When you finish the last chapter you will demand to read more.” — Gary Mayeda, national president of the Japanese American Citizens League

“An engaging, well-written telling of how former Manzanar detainees played key roles in remembering and righting the wrong of the World War II incarceration. Oral history testimonies and memoirs help personalize the decades following the war — a period of recovery from the nightmare of an American concentration camp.” — Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho

The authors will also sign copies of the book on April 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Heyday Books booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus; on April 28 during the Manzanar Pilgrimage and on April 29 at 11 a.m. at the Manzanar National Historic Site Visitors Center; on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Santa Monica Public Library Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica.

For more information on upcoming book events, visit https://heydaybooks.com/event/.

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