Tickets for Julie Otsuka’s lecture at Benaroya this evening will be on sale beginning at 6pm at the Box Office. Tickets will be available at all levels.
Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. After studying art as an undergraduate at Yale, she pursued a career as a painter before turning to writing fiction at age 30. Her first novel, When the Emperor Was Divine (2002), is about the internment of a Japanese-American family during World War II. The novel is based on Otsuka’s family history: her grandfather was arrested by the FBI as a suspected spy for Japan the day after Peal Harbor was bombed, and her mother, uncle, and grandmother spent three years in an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. When the Emperor Was Divine was a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. It has been assigned to high school students and incoming freshmen at colleges and universities across the country and is a regular “Community Reads” selection.
Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic (2011) tells of a group of young women brought to California from Japan as “picture brides” in the early 1900s to become the wives of men they had never met and knew only by their photographs. Like her first novel, it is told from multiple points of view. Otsuka is the winner of the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, a 2011 National Book Award Finalist, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Asian American Literary Award, and the American Library Association Alex Award. She lives in New York City, where she writes every afternoon in her neighborhood café.