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Meet the Author: Last Boat out of Shanghai by Helen Zia

  • Pao Arts Center 99 Albany Street Boston, MA, 02111 United States (map)

Pao Arts Center and Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) are proud to present activist and author, Helen Zia, as she discusses her latest book, “Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution” at the Pao Arts Center on Tuesday, February 12th.

“Stories of courage and resilience emerge from decades of oppression. On May 25, 1949, the People's Liberation Army marched into Shanghai, completing Mao's victorious takeover of China. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of that revolution, Chinese-American journalist Zia vividly chronicles the lives of several individuals caught in the violent 'tsunami of revolution' in China's 'biggest, most glamorous, and most notorious city,' the port where throngs of Chinese rushed to escape. In early May 1949, the World War II transport ship General Gordon was the last boat out of Shanghai, culminating an exodus that sent millions of Chinese to seek refuge throughout the world. In a narrative gleaned from more than 100 interviews, Zia focuses on four exiles whose stories represent 'the voices, viewpoints, and character of the Shanghai diaspora.'... After the war, the arrival of American soldiers and the ousting of Japanese soldiers and civilians augured stability, but a civil war between Nationalists and Communists led to more privations, an atmosphere of suspicion, and virulent repression. With captivating detail, the author reconstructs the tense 'panic to flee' that engulfed the nation. An absorbing history of a refugee crisis that mirrors current events.”
Kirkus Reviews

Suggested donation for the event: $5. Doors will open at 5:30 pm, the event will begin at 6 pm. Helen Zia will read selections from her upcoming book, to be followed by an audience Q&A session and book signing. Pre-sale books will be available shortly.

RSVP here:

Helen Zia author photo_credit Bob Hsiang_BHP San Francisco.jpg

About the Author:
Helen Zia is the author of "Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People," a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. She was Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine and is a founding board co-chair of the Women's Media Center. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books and anthologies, receiving awards for her ground-breaking stories.

The daughter of immigrants from China, Helen has been outspoken on issues ranging from human rights and peace to women's rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. Her work on the 1980s Asian American landmark civil rights case of anti-Asian violence is featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and she was profiled in Bill MoyersPBS series, "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience."

Directions: The Pao Arts Center is located in the One Greenway building, 99 Kneeland Street. For GPS driving directions, use 66 Hudson Street, Boston, MA 02111. From Hudson Street, walk up the stairs and across the deck to the 99 Albany Street entrance. The public parking garage entrance is on Hudson Street. The Pao Arts Center is accessible by the MBTA Green, Red, and Orange lines.

Contact: Cynthia Woo | 617-863-9080