Category Archives: Literature

The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir

In The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir (published Fall 2016), Tlingit elder Ernestine Hayes explores the challenges facing Alaska Natives in their own land and recounts her own story of becoming a professor and a writer. This powerful follow-up to her previous memoir Blonde Indian asks: what happens once the exile returns home? The 2016-2018 Alaska State Writer Laureate will soon visit Washington State for a series of book events.

The following excerpt from the book’s prologue tells the story of Raven and the Box of Daylight:

At a time so long ago it can be measured neither by following the moon’s slow dance nor by tracing the sun’s brightened path, had moon and sun then been part of life, darkness was upon the face of the world. This circumstance made it difficult for human beings to conduct their ordinary lives. For example, how much more difficult to impress one another when decisions are made in the dark. How much more difficult to recognize an ally, how much more difficult to praise another’s significance, thereby increasing one’s own importance. How much more difficult to confront a shadow, to challenge the gloom. In an unbrightened world, light does not reveal itself. It must be stolen.

Please join us for these events:

Saturday, February 25, 5 – 7 p.m. // Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, “Sacred Breath: Writing & Storytelling” featuring Ernestine Hayes, Raven Heavy Runner, and Elissa Washuta, Seattle, WA, RSVP required

Sunday, February 26 at 4 p.m. // Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Monday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. // Third Place Books, Seward Park, Seattle, WA

Liberated. Reclaimed, some might say.

Raven has always and not always been around to be amused at the pitiful antics of self-important human beings, and no doubt he found amusement in the ill-composed conditions of a darkened world. But, although he may have discerned intrigue and opportunity, although he may have sensed illicit adventure, although he could well have been distracted by wonders that he alone could see, nevertheless Raven decided to do something about the darkness.

Raven knew about an old man who lived with his daughter in a well-fortified house in an isolated place at the top of a river far away. This old man, it was said, kept in his house precious bentwood boxes in which could be found answers to the darkness. It was said that this old man guarded these boxes even more carefully than he guarded his daughter. He allowed his daughter to venture outside the house for such purposes as gathering roots and collecting water, but never did he allow his precious boxes to be removed from his house or even to be opened, or even to be looked upon, or even to be named.

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February 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

We are pleased to announce that Catherine Cocks is joining our acquisitions team as Senior Acquisition Editor, starting February 15. She started her career in academic publishing at SAR Press, the publishing arm of the School for Advanced Research, where she established the cutting-edge series in Global Indigenous Politics, among other accomplishments. She worked most recently at the University of Iowa Press, where she is currently Editorial Director. Please join us in welcoming Catherine to the press!

The University of Washington Press has five selected entries in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 2017 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Congratulations to the designers, our Editorial, Design, and Production department, and all involved!

Nine University of Washington Press authors will be participating in the 12th Annual Literary Voices event on May 3, 2017. Annie Proulx is this year’s keynote speaker.

Reviews and Interviews

The Times Literary Supplement reviews Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard: “Engelhard has an apt and unusual background for a book such as this. . . . Among the strengths of Ice Bear is its grasp of the rituals by which humans have always aspired to draw the strength of the polar bear into themselves.”—Mark Abley

The Spectator also reviews the book: “[A] beautifully illustrated, hugely engaging book. . . . For all its nightmare-haunting power, however, the aspect of the polar bear that really makes it an icon of the age is its vulnerability . . . . Another merit of the book is the author’s willingness to track these themes to their origins.”—Mark Cocker

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17 Essential Titles on the Japanese American Wartime Experience

On this 75th anniversary year of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced evacuation and mass incarceration of Japanese American citizens, join us in highlighting vital books by and about what Japanese American families endured during World War II.

Throughout the new administration’s first 100 days and beyond, we celebrate the voices and legacy of the incarcerated and their families and recognize our distinguished authors of books in American studies and history, critical race and ethnic studies, and social justice. The University of Washington Press is proud to have a history of publishing pathbreaking titles about the Asian American experience and the struggle for civil rights and redress. Together, let us remember American history we can’t afford to forget and continue to fight for equity and justice for all.

Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies:

The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Roger Daniels
Introduction to the diary by Sandy Kita
Forthcoming May 2017

Sent to detention camps at Puyallup, Washington, and then Minidoka in Idaho, artist Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964) documented his daily experiences in words and art. This richly illustrated book reveals the rare find of a large and heretofore unknown collection of art produced during World War II. The centerpiece of the collection is Fujii’s illustrated diary that historian Roger Daniels called “the most remarkable document created by a Japanese American prisoner during the wartime incarceration.”

Barbara Johns presents the artist’s life story and his achievements within the social and political context of the time. Sandy Kita, the artist’s grandson, provides translations and an introduction to the diary. The Hope of Another Spring is a significant contribution to Asian American studies, American and regional history, and art history.

enduringconviction-bannaiEnduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice
By Lorraine K. Bannai

Bannai brings an insider’s knowledge to the famous legal case of Fred Korematsu, a man interned by the government under Executive Order 9066, but whose conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court decades later. Lorraine Bannai served on the legal team that represented Korematsu in reopening his case in the 1980s.

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States
By Gordon K. Hirabayashi
With James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

In 1943, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand, Gordon’s brother James and nephew Lane have brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that in 1943 upheld and on appeal in 1987 vacated his conviction. For the first time, the events of the case are told in Gordon’s own words. The result is a compelling and intimate story that reveals what motivated him, how he endured, and how his ideals changed and deepened as he fought discrimination and defended his beliefs.

Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River
By Linda Tamura

“An important book about a shameful era in the history of the Columbia gorge. . . . Tamura uses interviews and newly uncovered documents to tell a shocking story.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This compelling story of courage, community, endurance, and reparation shares the experiences of Japanese Americans (Nisei) from Hood River, Oregon, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and faced The soldiers were from Hood River, Oregon, where their families were landowners and fruit growers. Town leaders, including veterans’ groups, attempted to prevent their return after the war and stripped their names from the local war memorial. All of the soldiers were American citizens, but their parents were Japanese immigrants and had been imprisoned in camps as a consequence of Executive Order 9066. The racist homecoming that the Hood River Japanese American soldiers received was decried across the nation.

Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMcFdmixLk

Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Stephen H. Sumida

“A fascinating book that accomplishes more than one purpose. The first part is a biography of Tokita . . . the second is Tokita’s diary from 1941-44. . . . Signs of Home includes plenty of examples that prove his status as an important regional artist.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This beautiful and poignant biography of Issei artist Kamekichi Tokita uses his paintings and wartime diary to vividly illustrate the experiences, uncertainties, joys, and anxieties of Japanese Americans during the World War II internment and the more optimistic times that preceded it.

Classics of Asian American Literature:

Citizen 13660
By Miné Okubo
Introduction by Christine Hong

“This forerunner to the modern graphic memoir is a must read, both for the important—and shameful—period of American history it documents and its poignant beauty.”—The Chicago Tribune

Miné Okubo’s graphic memoir of life in relocation centers in California and Utah illuminates this experience with poignant illustrations and witty, candid text. Now available with a new introduction and in a wide-format artist edition, this graphic novel can reach a new generation of readers and scholars.

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family
By Yoshiko Uchida
Introduction by Traise Yamamoto

“A sensitive, readable account that captures with insight and human warmth the feel of what it was like to be sent by one’s own government into exile in the wilderness. It is a work worthy of an unforgettable experience.”—Pacific Citizen

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, everything changed for Yoshiko Uchida. Desert Exile is the autobiographical account of her life before and during World War II. The book does more than relate the day-to-day experience of living in stalls at the Tanforan Racetrack, the assembly center just south of San Francisco, and in the Topaz, Utah, internment camp. It tells the story of the courage and strength displayed by those who were interned.

Nisei Daughter
By Monica Sone
Introduction by Marie Rose Wong

“Sone reminds us that the anti-Japanese sentiment and threat of war [was] looming over them. . . but it doesn’t stop the family members from going forward with their lives—showing the kind of strength we all wish we had.”—Samantha Pak, Northwest Asian Weekly

With charm, humor, and deep understanding, Monica Sone tells what it was like to grow up Japanese American on Seattle’s waterfront in the 1930s and to be subjected to “relocation” during World War II. Her unique and personal account is a true classic of Asian American literature.

No-No Boy
By John Okada
Foreword by Ruth Ozeki
Introduction by Lawson Fusao Inada and Frank Chin

“Asian American readers will appreciate the sensitivity and integrity with which the late John Okada wrote about his own group. He heralded the beginning of an authentic Japanese American literature.”—Gordon Hirabayashi, Pacific Affairs

Originally published in the 1950s, No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.

Yokohama, California
By Toshio Mori
Introduction to the 2015 edition by Xiaojing Zhou

“Mori’s superbly structured short stories are . . . tender, evocative episodes of growing up as a Japanese American prior to World War II.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Yokohama, California, originally released in 1949, is the first published collection of short stories by a Japanese American. Set in a fictional community, these linked stories are alive with the people, gossip, humor, and legends of Japanese America in the 1930s and 1940s.

Also of interest:

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Holiday Books from UW Press

If your family is anything like mine, the season of giving is a non-stop search for just the right book for everyone in our lives—Mom loves history! Dad loves art! Siblings love local food! Luckily University of Washington Press has you covered with a range of books that will surely appeal to everyone on your list.

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We are delighted to extend a 50% discount to our University of Washington Press community. Please use the code WHOL16 when ordering via our website or when calling customer service at 1-800-537-5487. (Please contact Rachael Levay with any questions at remann [at] uw [dot] edu.)

Feeling lucky? Enter our Holiday Book Bundle giveaway using the form at the bottom of this post for a chance to win free copies of some of our favorite holiday picks, including the ones featured here.

For the animal lover or the art lover:

Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard combines amazing art and illustrations with a fascinating history of the polar bear. With over 170 color illustrations, Engelhard shows us the full scope of the polar bear’s appeal and ensures you’ll never think of the polar bear the same way.

For the lover of memoir or the literary type:

The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes tells the poignant and lyrical story of Hayes’s return to Juneau and to her Tlingit home after many years away. Interweaving her personal history with the story of the Raven and the Box of Daylight, Hayes illuminates her frustration and anger at what still faces Alaska Natives in their own land while examining her own evolution as a writer.

For the history buff or the outdoorsman/woman:

Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics by Darren Speece tells the riveting history of how the giant redwoods emerged as an icon of the struggle over environment and industry. Bill McKibben says Defending Giants “brings back to life the story of some of the most committed and capable environmentalists I’ve ever known, people who worked on a scale as epic as the forests they fought for.”

For everyone else in the Pacific Northwest:

Birds of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Guide by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman has over 900 illustrations and shows off the birds that live in our coastal rainforest, North America’s northernmost deserts, and the northern/mid-Rockies to the east.

October 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the finalists in eight categories for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2015. Congratulations to our finalists Ana Maria Spagna (Reclaimers; Biography/Memoir) and Ruth Kirk (Ozette; History/General Nonfiction). The winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 8, 2016. Emcee for the evening is Frances McCue, twice a UW Press finalist for a WSBA (in 2011 for The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs and in 2015 for Mary Randlett Portraits). The awards celebration is free and open to the public.

University of Washington Press shares in the remembrance of Sarah Reichard, who died suddenly in her sleep on August 29, 2016. Dr. Reichard directed the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, was coeditor of Invasive Species of the Pacific Northwest, and advised UW Press on other projects. Read obituaries and details on the October 13th memorial celebration in the Seattle Times and Offshoots (blog of the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences).

Reviews and Interviews

Michael Upchurch reviews Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker in the Seattle Times: “The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Anybody Can Do Anything practically cavort off the page. How did [Betty MacDonald] do it? Seattle author Paula Becker has some answers in her compact, finely crafted biography.”

Lory Widmer Hess reviews the biography on her Emerald City Book Review blog: “I was delighted to explore MacDonald’s life and work through Paula Becker’s thoughtful, painstakingly researched biography, and even more thrilled to see that University of Washington Press is going to be reprinting three hard-to-find later works by the bestselling author of The Egg and I: Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew. . . . If you’re not a MacDonald enthusiast, you will be soon. . . . We can be grateful that Becker has preserved it for us in words, and has given us valuable insights into her world, her books, her family, and the writer herself.”

Barbara McMichael reviews in the Kitsap Sun: “The pages zing with unexpected detail and nuggets of lacerating wit. . . If you’re Looking for Betty MacDonald, you need look no further.” Paula’s other book (The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition) and the MacDonald reissues (The Plague and I, Anybody Can Do Anything, and Onions in the Stew) also get mentions.

Steve Donoghue reviews the books at Open Letters Monthly: “A smart and immensely readable portrait, taking readers through MacDonald’s life. . . . Becker has combed every interview and profile, and her book veritably glows with MacDonald’s recaptured wit. . . . Thanks to Paula Becker’s exhaustive research and the compassionate, standard-setting book she’s shaped out of it, 21st century readers can meet a much fuller and more fascinating version of that complex, challenging, laughing woman. Readers of her books will still want to thank her, but thanks to Looking for Betty MacDonald, they’ll know her much better.” The Plague and I (“improbably funny. . . equally remarkable”) and Anybody Can Do Anything (“again improbably funny”) also get mentions.

Bainbridge Community Broadcasting’s “What’s Up Bainbridge” host Wendy Wallace speaks with Paula Becker about the biography and reissues.
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Q&A with ‘The Deepest Roots’ author Kathleen Alcalá

In The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, Kathleen Alcalá combines memoir, historical records, and powerful interviews in a charming and timely book that uses Bainbridge Island as a case study for thinking about our relationships with the land and each other. Alcalá meets Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II, and learns the unique histories of the blended Filipino and Native American community, the fishing practices of the descendants of Croatian immigrants, and the Suquamish elder who shares with her the food legacy of the island itself. We spoke with Alcalá about the book, publishing this fall.

Join us for these events:

October 13 at 7:30 p.m. // Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island Museum of Art auditorium, Bainbridge Island, WA

October 19 at 7:30 p.m. // University Book Store, University District

October 20 at 7 p.m. // Third Place Books-Lake Forest Park

October 27 at 7 p.m. // Hispanic Roundtable of South Sound at South Puget Sound Community College, Latino Youth Summit, Olympia, WA

November 2 at 5:30 p.m. // The Butcher’s Table, “50 Minutes with…” speaker series with University Book Store (2121 Westlake Ave., Seattle)

November 3 at 7 p.m.  // Village Books, Bellingham

November 10 at 6:30 p.m. // Book Larder, Fremont

November 19 from 3-5 p.m. // Seattle7 Holiday Bookfest, Phinney Ridge

December 2 at 7 p.m. // Tattered Cover Book Store, Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO

January 10 at 7 p.m. // Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill

What inspired you to write The Deepest Roots?

Kathleen Alcalá: In 2010, I wrote an essay about two couples I knew who left other jobs to go into farming. It turned out, each had a fascinating story and philosophy of life to go with that decision. Readers reacted so strongly, I realized I had touched on something fundamental, our relationship to the land, and how people yearn to strengthen that relationship. As a writer of historical, family-based fiction and essays, this was a topic about which I knew zilch. I thought. Then I realized that this was the basis of that family history: our relationship to the land. Understanding this is so important to our survival, and the survival of this island in particular, that I decided to pursue the topic with further interviews and research.

What would you have been if not a writer?

KA: Perhaps an architect, if I had the skills. I am a very visual thinker. I’m very interested in how people relate to their environment through built, or human-made intervention. Architecture is a form of shelter, but how close or how distant it keeps us from nature fascinates me. What the wealthy think they need versus what 90% of the world lives with is also interesting to me, in terms of the built environment. As resources become scarce, or we realize how toxic many of them are, we need to rethink how and where we live and build, so I guess there is some overlap here.

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Behind the Covers: “Looking for Betty MacDonald” and Three New Editions . . .

macdonald-book-3dPaula Becker‘s Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first comprehensive biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona. In this guest post, designer Thomas Eykemans discusses the process of creating the cover in collaboration with the author and Seattle artist Tom DesLongchamp. He also shares the creation of the covers of three new editions of Betty’s memoirs, Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew.

There are a million photographs of Betty MacDonald and any one of them could have made a great book cover. The portrait of a beaming bang-free Betty (below, lower left) was inset on many of the covers of her books when they were first published, and Paula describes how this particular image of her was perhaps the most familiar. Regarding The Egg and I:

After only a few months, Lippincott moved Betty’s appealing head shot from the back cover to the front, ditching Bennett’s art. For her readers, the merry pinup-girl author and the yarn she spun were indivisible. From this point on, Egg branded Betty, and Betty branded Egg.

macdonald-portraits

Various photographs of Betty MacDonald.

Despite their prevalence, a photo of Betty seemed too static for a biography about her, and definitely too black and white. Her rich life, warm personality, and merrily snarky attitude required something more energetic and colorful. Tom DesLongchamp is a Seattle-based artist and illustrator whose imaginative style is perfect for the challenge.

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