Join the Library, Loyalty Bookstores, and the Mayor's Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs for a conversation with Curtis Chin about his new memoir Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant. In conversation with MOAPIA Director Ben de Guzman, Chin will share from his book about growing up Chinese-American and gay in Detroit in the 1980's.
Books will be available for sale and signing from Loyalty Bookstores, and a limited number will be available courtesy of the DC Public Library Foundation.
About the book:
Nineteen eighties Detroit was a volatile place to live, but above the fray stood a safe haven: Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, where anyone—from the city’s first Black mayor to the local drag queens, from a big-time Hollywood star to elderly Jewish couples—could sit down for a warm, home-cooked meal. Here was where, beneath a bright-red awning and surrounded by his multigenerational family, filmmaker and activist Curtis Chin came of age; where he learned to embrace his identity as a gay ABC, or American-born Chinese; where he navigated the divided city’s spiraling misfortunes; and where—between helpings of almond boneless chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and some of his own, less-savory culinary concoctions—he realized just how much he had to offer to the world, to his beloved family, and to himself.
Served up by the cofounder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and structured around the very menu that graced the tables of Chung’s, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant is both a memoir and an invitation: to step inside one boy’s childhood oasis, scoot into a vinyl booth, and grow up with him—and perhaps even share something off the secret menu.
About the author:
A co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York City, Curtis Chin served as the non-profits’ first Executive Director. He went on to write for network and cable television before transitioning to social justice documentaries. Chin has screened his films at over 600 venues in twenty countries. He has written for CNN, Bon Appetit, the Detroit Free Press and the Emancipator/Boston Globe. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Chin has received awards from ABC/Disney Television, New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and more. His memoir, "Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant" will be published by Little, Brown in Fall 2023. His essay in Bon Appetit was just selected for Best Food Writing in America 2023.
About the moderator:
Ben de Guzman is the Director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA). He has been a leading voice at the local and national level on issues of racial equity, immigrants' rights, veterans affairs, and LGBT justice for more than two decades. He comes to MOAPIA from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, where he served as the Community Outreach Specialist. During his tenure there, he helped execute two major first time events for the Office- the “District of Pride” LGBTQ cultural performance event and the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race, presented by the Mayor’s Office as lead organizer.