Helen Zia, author of "Last Boat Out of Shanghai"
Helen Zia is an award-winning author, journalist, and activist. Her most recent book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai, explores the exodus from China's richest, most modern and westernized city. The bustling metropolis was home to sophisticated intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and a thriving middle class when Mao’s proletarian revolution emerged victorious from the long civil war. Terrified of the horrors the Communists would wreak upon their lives, citizens of Shanghai who could afford to fled in every direction. Seventy years later, members of the last generation to fully recall this massive exodus have revealed their stories to Chinese American journalist Helen Zia, who interviewed hundreds of exiles about their journey through one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. From these moving accounts, Zia weaves together the stories of four young Shanghai residents who wrestled with the decision to abandon everything for an uncertain life as refugees in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Herself the daughter of immigrants from China, Zia is uniquely equipped to explain how crises like the Shanghai transition affect children and their families, students and their futures, and, ultimately, the way we see ourselves and those around us. Last Boat Out of Shanghai brings a poignant personal angle to the experiences of refugees then and, by extension, today.
Helen Zia is also the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize and the co-author, with Wen Ho Lee, of My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy. She is also a former executive editor of Ms. magazine. A Fulbright Scholar, Zia first visited China in 1972, just after President Nixon’s historic trip. A graduate of Princeton University, she holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from the City University of New York School of Law and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Co-sponsored by UCI Illuminations, the UCI Humanities Center, Asian American Studies, Center for Asian Studies, East Asian Studies, History, Literary Journalism, the Long US-China Institute, Academic and Professional Women of UCI, Asian American Pacific Islander Staff Association, Asian American Pacific Islander Womxn in Leadership and Orange County and Southeast Asian Archive Center.