Writer Jean Kwok on her latest work
Host Sarika Mehta interviews writer Jean Kwok about her latest work "Mambo in Chinatown".
Jean Kwok immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood. She won early admission to Harvard, where she worked as many as four jobs at a time, and graduated with honors in English and American literature, before going on to earn an MFA in fiction at Columbia. In between her degrees, she worked for three years as a professional ballroom dancer for Fred Astaire Studios in New York City.
Her debut novel "Girl in Translation" is about a gifted immigrant girl who lives a double life between school and sweatshop. It was a New York Times bestseller, has been published in 17 countries and chosen as the winner of an American Library Association Alex Award, a Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, an Orange New Writers Book, a National Blue Ribbon Book, a John Gardner Fiction Book Award finalist, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick and an Indie Next Pick, among other honors.
Her second novel "Mambo in Chinatown" (Riverhead, 2014) is about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing. It will be available on June 24, 2014.
Photo of Jean Kwok by Chris Macke