Penguin Classics to Publish Editions of Four Asian American Novels

In honor of Asian American Heritage month, Penguin Books is publishing four Asian American novels in their Penguin Classics imprint. The four books include America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, The Hanging on Union Square by H.T. Tsiang, East Goes West by Younghill Kang, and No-No Boy by John Okada. It’s sad to say that I haven’t read any of them even though America is in the Heart has been on my to read list for decades. I had heard of No-No Boy but not the other two books.

All four were originally published over 60 years ago.  This cover from No-No Boy is from a University of Washington Edition published in 1976, nineteen years after the novel first appeared in 1957.  The classics editions will all have new forwards and afterwards by contemporary writers and are scheduled to be released on May 21.

(photo credit:  Nancy Wong,  licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

The Working APA Actor: Greg Watanabe

The Working APA Actor is a bi-monthly interview of Asian Pacific Islander American actors in the entertainment world, whether it be theater, film, television, or commercials. It is an inside look at these actors exploring their passion in their craft and how they balance their personal lives with their work. But more importantly, this column is dedicated to knowing these busy actors a little better as individuals.

Who is that hilariously goofy gravelly voiced man? Why, it’s none other than Greg Watanabe. Greg recently just wrapped up a San Jose theatrical production of David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face where he played the titular DHH character. I had the pleasure of seeing this extremely talented man act in No-No Boy, the first theater show I saw in Los Angeles.

From the get go, he not only has a tremendous aura of charisma and charm, but he is extremely passionate when it comes to social justice activism. With these two passions, he has combined them together for many projects he puts out for the company that he is part of, the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. But let’s hear what this man has to say for himself!

Tell us about yourself! What are you most passionate about in this world?

I love theater, its collaborative nature, all the creative people and energy involved. I love the audiences’ willingness to support and participate and be a part of the communication and ritual of theater.

And I love that theater is essentially telling a story. And that sometimes i get to tell stories that resonate strongly with me, that have great personal meaning to me.

I love that there’s Asian American theater and that it attempts to speak to those both inside and outside the community about what the community is, it’s struggles, it’s triumphs. And even though it’s just one facet with  it’s failures and biases, and weaknesses, participating in Asian American theater projects makes me feel like I’m participating in the process of community.

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