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Author Ruthanne McCunn to speak March 3


Ruthanne Lum McCunn

  • February 26, 2009

Chinese/Scottish author Ruthanne Lum McCunn will discuss her book, "Wooden Fish Songs," Tuesday, March 3 as part of California State University, East Bay's observance of "Women's History Month." The free program will be from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Biella Room of the University Library on CSUEB's Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.

Published in 1997, "Wooden" is a true story of a Chinese American orange grower from the perspective of his Chinese mother, his New England teacher, and his African American friend. It was re-released last fall with an introduction by UCLA Professor King-Kok Cheung.

A. Magazine proclaimed the work, "Historical fiction with a flourish." The novel won the Women's Heritage Museum's Jeanne Farr McDonnell Award for Best Fiction in 1997. A stage adaptation of the book enjoyed successful tours of colleges, libraries, museums, and community organizations, including the Smithsonian.

McCunn was born in 1946 in San Francisco's Chinatown, grew up in Hong Kong where she was educated first in Chinese and then British schools, and returned to the U.S. in 1962 to attend college. She began writing seriously when she was 30. Three years later she published her first book, a novel, "Thousand Pieces of Gold," followed by a children's picture book, "Pie-Biter," two nonfiction titles, "Sole Survivor," "Chinese American Portraits: Personal Histories 1828-1988," and last year's, "God of Luck."

McCunn's work has won many awards and has been translated into 11 languages and published in 22 countries. The author has taught at Cornell University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of San Francisco. She frequently lectures at community organizations, libraries, and schools as well as universities. She is a co-founder of the Chinese Historical Society of America's annual journal, and has served on its editorial committee for the past 20 years.

The March 3 program is sponsored by the Cal State East Bay Department of History and the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. The University Library is on the west side of campus. Parking is available in pay lots for $5 per day. Machines accept quarters and dollar bills.

Cal State East Bay welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please call the History Department, (510) 885-3207 in advance if accommodation is needed.

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