Join us for the launch of new book The Fortunes by Man Booker nominee Peter Ho Davies, who will be in conversation with the literary critic Arifa Akbar.
Inspired by three figures who lived at pivotal moments of the past, and drawing on his own mixed-race experience, Ho Davies looks at the Chinese-American experience.
Ah Ling is the son of a prostitute and a white ‘ghost’, dispatched from Hong Kong as a boy to make his way alone in 1860s California. Then there’s Anna May Wong, the first Chinese film star in Hollywood, forbidden to kiss a white man on screen, as well as Vincent Chin, killed by a pair of Detroit auto workers in 1982 simply for looking Japanese. Finally there’s John Ling Smith, a half-Chinese writer visiting China for the first time, to adopt a baby girl.
Ranging from the mouth of the Pearl River to the land of golden opportunity, this remarkable novel spans 150 years to tell a moving story of familial bonds denied and fragmented, of tenacity and pride, and of prejudice and the universal need to belong.
Peter Ho Davies’s novel The Welsh Girl was published by Sceptre in 2007, when it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It was also a Richard & Judy Book Club choice and was shortlisted for the R & J Best Read at the British Book Awards. His first short story collection, The Ugliest House in the World (1997), won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the PEN/Macmillan Prize, while his second, Equal Love (2000), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 , he was chosen as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and was a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award in 2008.
Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davies now lives in the US, where he is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.
Join Ho Davies and Akbar for a fascinating discussion on the book and the important issues it raises.
Read an interview that Peter Ho Davies has given to Asia House ahead of the talk here.