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Helen Zia in Conversation with Putsata Reang
May 29 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm$10 – $12
The Portland Chinatown Museum is honored to present a book conversation with Helen Zia, acclaimed writer, journalist, and activist. Helen Zia will be in conversation with writer Putsata Reang to discuss Helen’s new book, LAST BOAT OUT OF SHANGHAI. A book signing will follow the discussion period.
LAST BOAT OUT OF SHANGHAI is based on the dramatic, real-life stories of a generation caught up in the mass rush out of Shanghai in the wake of China’s 1949 Communist Revolution, with startling parallels to the struggles faced by emigrants today.
Shanghai has historically been China’s jewel, its richest, most modern and westernized city. The bustling metropolis was home to sophisticated intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and a thriving middle class when Mao’s proletarian revolution emerged victorious from the long civil war. Terrified of the horrors the Communists would wreak upon their lives, citizens of Shanghai who could afford to fled in every direction. Seventy years later, the last generation to fully recall one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century have opened their story to Chinese American journalist Helen Zia. From these moving accounts, she weaves the story of four young Shanghai residents who wrestled with the decision to abandon everything for an uncertain life as refugees in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S.
Helen Zia is a Fulbright scholar and graduate of Princeton University’s first coeducational class. An activist, writer, and former journalist, Helen was the former executive editor of Ms. Magazine and founding co-chair of the Women’s Media Center, and has been outspoken on issues ranging from human rights and peace to women’s rights and countering hate violence and homophobia.
Putsata Reang is an author and journalist whose writings have appeared in a variety of national and international publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, Ms, The Seattle Times and the San Jose Mercury News.
Putsata was born in Cambodia, and raised in rural Oregon, surrounded by berry farms where she and her family hustled to earn their middle class existence. Her memoir explores the glades of displacement felt by children of refugees, and the overlay of emotional exile that comes with being gay.