Rolling the R’s: Literary Revolutions in the Asian Pacific Diaspora

Rolling the R’s: Literary Revolutions in the Asian Pacific Diaspora

Monday, March 28, 2016
7 p.m.
Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Memorial Library Room 240
University Park Campus

Reception and book signing to follow. Books will be available for purchase.

Admission is free. Reservations required. RSVP beginning Wednesday, March 2, at 9 a.m.

USC Students, Staff, Faculty – RSVP
USC Alumni – RSVP
General Public – RSVP

Twenty years ago, a new generation of Asian Pacific American writers from island nations published their first novels—and changed American literature. Irreverent, experimental, and heavily influenced by pop culture, these books put the experiences of diverse working-class immigrant populations into print. An exciting event will bring together authors Jessica Hagedorn (Dogeaters), Lois-Ann Yamanaka (Blu’s Hanging), and R. Zamora Linmark (Rolling the R’s) for a conversation about writing books that exploded the static, prescribed ideas of 1990s multiculturalism and ultimately became staples of American literature courses. Playwright and USC professor Luis Alfaro will guide the discussion as it winds through the authors’ literary beginnings, their multifaceted careers, and the island heritages that shaped their identities.

About the Participants:

Jessica Hagedorn’s novels include Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster of Love, and Dogeaters, winner of the American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Hagedorn is also the author of Danger and Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and the editor of three anthologies: Manila Noir, Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction, and Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World. Her theatre work includes the musical play Most Wanted, Fe in the Desert, Stairway to Heaven, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, which was presented at La Jolla Playhouse, the Public Theater in New York, the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and in Manila. Honors and prizes include a Lucille Lortel Playwrights’ Fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and an NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency Fellowship. Hagedorn has taught in the graduate playwriting program at the Yale School of Drama, and in the MFA creative writing programs at NYU and Columbia University. She is the Parsons Family University Professor of Creative Writing and the director of the MFA writing program at LIU Brooklyn.

Novelist, poet, and playwright R. Zamora Linmark is the author of seven books, including the forthcoming poetry collection Pop Verite, These Books Belong to Ken Z, and the twentieth-anniversary special edition of Rolling the R’s. He has also written several plays, including the stage adaptation of Rolling the R’s. He divides his time between Manila and Honolulu, where he is working on a novel and a play.

Lois-Ann Yamanaka is the author of Snow Angel, Sand Angel, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers, Blu’s Hanging, Heads by Harry, Name Me Nobody, Father of the Four Passages, and Behold the Many. She is the recipient of the Hawai’i Award for Literature, the American Book Award, the Children’s Choice for Literature, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She runs the Na’au Place for Learning in Honolulu.

Luis Alfaro is an assistant professor at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. He is a Chicano writer/performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance, and journalism. He is the first-ever resident playwright of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a “Genius Grant.” He is featured in over 25 anthologies and has an award-winning spoken-word CD and PBS short film, Chicanismo. His plays and performances, including Bruja, Oedipus El Rey, Electricidad, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Black Butterfly, and Straight as a Line have been performed around the world.

Organized by Luis Alfaro (Dramatic Arts), Viet Nguyen (English and American Studies and Ethnicity), Karen Tongson (English and Gender Studies), and Sunyoung Lee (Kaya Press). Co-sponsored by the USC Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, Asian Pacific American Student Services, the Center for Transpacific Studies, and the Center for Art and Thought.

Photo (Lois-Ann Yamanaka): Tyler Hirashima
Photo (R. Zamora Linmark): Jilson Tiu