About this Event
A seminal Japanese American novelist, Okada was the author of “No-No Boy.” Okada biographer Frank Abe presents still-unseen images and stories from Okada’s life and will talk with novelist Shawn Wong and Karen Maeda Allman about the rediscovery and republication of “No-No Boy,” and Okada’s unfinished second novel.
Presented in partnership with University of Washington Press and the North American Post. This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation. Thanks to media sponsor The Seattle Times.
About the Presenters:
Frank Abe is The Seattle Public Library’s Fall Guest Curator. Abe was the lead author of a graphic novel, WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press, 2021), named a Finalist in Creative Nonfiction for the Washington State Book Award. He wrote, produced, and directed the award-winning PBS documentary Conscience and the Constitution on the largest organized resistance to the camps.
He won an American Book Award as co-editor of JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press), in which he authored the first-ever biography of Okada and traced the origins of his novel. He is currently co-editing The Penguin Book of the Literature of Japanese American Incarceration (Penguin Classics, spring 2024).
Abe helped produce the first-ever “Day of Remembrance” in Seattle in 1978 with Frank Chin and Lawson Inada, and together they invented a new Japanese American tradition to reclaim the history of wartime imprisonment and publicly dramatize the campaign for redress. He was an original member of Chin’s Asian American Theater Workshop in San Francisco and studied at the American Conservatory Theater.
Abe worked as a reporter for KIRO Newsradio in Seattle, and as communications director for King County Executives Gary Locke and Dow Constantine, and the Metropolitan King County Council.
Shawn Wong is the author of two novels, “Homebase” and “American Knees.” He is also the co-editor and editor of six Asian American and American literary anthologies including the pioneering anthology “Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers.” In 2019, he started his own book series at the University of Washington Press, reissuing notable Asian American books such as “Eat a Bowl of Tea” by Louis Chu, “Awake in the River and Shedding Silence” by Janice Mirikitani, and a new work, “Uncle Rico's Encore: Mostly True Stories of Filipino Seattle” by Peter Bacho. Wong’s connection to “No-No Boy” dates to 1976 when he helped bring the novel to wider attention by bringing it back into print. Wong is Professor of English and Byron and Alice Lockwood Professor in the Humanities at the University of Washington.
Karen Maeda Allman is an Assistant Agent at Wales Literary Agency. Prior to that, she worked as a bookseller for over 33 years, 23 of these as author events coordinator at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Karen also worked as a nurse and as a nurse educator for 20 years.
John Okada (1923-1971) was born in Seattle. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, attended the University of Washington and Columbia University, and died of a heart attack at the age of 47. “No-No Boy” is his only published novel.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, United States