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Chinatown Presents: Authors Anelise Chen and Q.M. Zhang

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

Kaya Press authors Anelise Chen and Q.M. Zhang come together to discuss trauma, memory and the writing.  Both authors push the boundaries of genres with their hybrid and experimental text that refuse to be placed in simple categories such as memoir, novels, self-help and more.  

Moderated by author, educator, and playwright Proshot Kalami

$10 suggested donation. 


About Anelise Chen and So Many Olympic Exertions: The essays and reviews of Anelise Chen have appeared in the New York Times, NPR, BOMB Magazine, The New Republic, VICE, and Village Voice. She has received fellowships from the Asian American Writers' Workshop, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and she will be a 2019 Literature Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. 

Blending elements of self-help, memoir, and sports writing, So Many Olympic Exertions is an experimental novel that perhaps most resembles what the ancient Greeks called hypomnemata, or “notes to the self” in the form of observations, reminders, and self-exhortations. Taken together, these notes constitute a personal handbook on “how to live” or perhaps more urgently “why to live,” a question the narrator, graduate student Athena Chen, desperately needs answering.

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About Q.M. Zhang and Accomplice to Memory: Q.M. Zhang (Kimberly Chang) grew up in upstate New York, lived in China and Hong Kong, and currently makes her home in Western Massachusetts.  She is a writer and teacher of creative non/fiction stories and forms, with a focus on Chinese American border crossings.  Trained in the disciplines of anthropology and psychology, she has published ethnographic studies of Asian diasporic communities on both sides of the Pacific.  She currently teaches at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

In Accomplice to MemoryQ.M. Zhang tries to piece together the fractured mystery of her father’s exodus from China to the U.S. during the two decades of civil and world war leading up to the 1949 revolution. Part memoir, novel, and historical documentary, this hybrid text explores the silences and subterfuge of an immigrant parent, and the struggles of the second generation to understand the first. Mixing images and text in the manner of W.G. Sebald, Zhang blurs the boundary between fiction and nonfiction, memory and imagination, and the result is a literary page-turner of one woman racing against time to uncover and reimagine her family's origin story.

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: Karthik Submaranian | 617-863-9072