This series of panels will center on Asian American and Pacific Islander voices, books, cultures, and experiences, and features authors, creators, and librarians. The program is a collaborative effort from the University of South Carolina’s Augusta Baker endowed chair, Penguin Random House Library Marketing, and PW.

Monday, May 22

Opening and Welcome

2–2:10 p.m.

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada is the 2022–2023 president of the American Library Association and adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District in Southern California. She was the 2019–2022 executive director and the 2016–2017 president of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). She is a current board member of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature. In 2022, she received the American Library Association Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award and was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in the advocacy category. Much of her work focuses on advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries and librarianship.

A Conversation in the Kitchen

2:10–2:30 p.m.

Maya Kaimal, Indian Flavor Every Day

Maya Kaimal is an award-winning cookbook author and founder of Maya Kaimal Foods. Her first book, Curried Favors, won the Julia Child First Book Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She has appeared on Martha Stewart TV, the Food Network, and the Discovery Channel and has written features for Saveur, Food & Wine, and Gourmet magazines.

Kevin and Jeffrey Pang, A Very Chinese Cookbook

Jeffrey Pang is a retired businessman in the import-export industry. He’s also an amateur YouTube chef whose Chinese cooking channel was featured in the New York Times Magazine in 2016. Jeffrey is the costar of Hunger Pangs with his son Kevin, a video series for America’s Test Kitchen. Kevin Pang is a James Beard Award–winning food writer. At America’s Test Kitchen, Kevin is the editorial director for digital and host of the podcast Proof. Kevin was previously a restaurant critic at the Chicago Tribune and is founder of the website The Takeout. His documentary, For Grace, premiered at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival and later streamed on Netflix.

Moderator: Thea James

Thea James is one half of the maniacal duo behind The Book Smugglers, a Hugo Award–winning sci-fi and fantasy book review blog. Thea is Filipina American but grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Japan. She works in publishing at Penguin Random House and is the author of geek- and pop-culture-focused cookbooks Cooking for Wizards, Warriors and Dragons, The Unofficial Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Cookbook, and Drinking with Wizards, Warriors and Dragons.


2:30–2:45 p.m.

Must-Have Fiction

2:45–3:30 p.m.

Gina Apostol, La Tercera

Gina Apostol is the author of the novels Insurrecto, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Bibliolepsy, and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata. She is the winner of two Philippine National Book Awards, the PEN/Open Book Award, and the Rome Prize. She lives in New York City and western Massachusetts and grew up in Tacloban, in the Philippines.

Ye Chun, Straw Dogs of the Universe

Ye Chun is a bilingual Chinese American writer and literary translator. Her debut story collection, Hao, was longlisted for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. She is also the author of two books of poetry, Travel Over Water and Lantern Puzzle; a novel in Chinese, Peach Tree in the Sea; and four volumes of translations. A recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and three Pushcart Prizes, she teaches at Providence College and lives in Providence, R.I..

Tania James, Loot

Tania James is the author of the novels The Tusk That Did the Damage and Atlas of Unknowns and the short story collection Aerogrammes. Her fiction has appeared in Boston Review, Granta, Guernica, One Story, A Public Space, and the Kenyon Review. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Hannah Michell, Excavations

Hannah Michell grew up in Seoul. She studied anthropology and philosophy at Cambridge University and now lives in California with her husband and children. She teaches in the Asian American Studies Program at UC Berkeley.

Moderator: Michelle Young

Michelle Young currently works as a branch manager in the Hawaii State Public Library System. She has served on several book award committees for the American Library Association, including the RUSA Notable Books and Reading List Council and the ALSC Newbery and Caldecott Awards. Michelle graduated with a MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool in 2008.

Noteworthy Nonfiction

3:30–4:15 p.m.

Ava Chin, Mott Street

Ava Chin is the author of Eating Wildly, winner of the Les Dames d’Escoffier International M.F.K. Fisher Book Prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times,the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, and Saveur. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York Institute for the Humanities, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. She is an associate professor of creative nonfiction at the City University of New York.

Charlotte Gill, Almost Brown: A Memoir

Charlotte Gill is a bestselling writer of fiction and narrative nonfiction. Ladykiller, her first book, was the recipient of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for short fiction. Eating Dirt, a tree-planting memoir, was a bestseller in Canada. Her work has appeared in Vogue and Hazlitt. Gill teaches writing in the MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of King’s College and is the Rogers Communications Chair of Literary Journalism at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She lives in British Columbia.

Chenxing Han, One Long Listening: A Memoir of Grief, Friendship and Spiritual Care

Chenxing Han is the author of the widely reviewed Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists and One Long Listening: A Memoir of Grief, Friendship, and Spiritual Care. She is a regular contributor to Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and other publications and is a frequent speaker and workshop leader at schools, universities, and Buddhist communities across the nation. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, the Hemera Foundation, the Lenz Foundation, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

Connie Wang, Oh My Mother!

Connie Wang is a journalist, writer, and editor. Previously she led Refinery29’s editorial team as executive editor, where she explored how race and status inform our culture and politics. She has won three Front Page Awards and has written for outlets including the New York Times. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she was born in Jinan, China, raised in Minnesota, and lives in Los Angeles.

Moderator: Lalitha Nataraj

Lalitha Nataraj is the social sciences librarian at California State University, San Marcos. She holds an MLIS from UCLA and a BA in English and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley. Lalitha also spent several years as a public librarian championing the inclusion of diverse materials in children’s and teen library collections. Her research interests include feminist pedagogy, critical information literacy, and South Asians in librarianship.

Click here to register for the U.S. Book Show, and click here for more information on the programming.

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