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Friends of the Libraries Annual Lecture

Shawn Wong

Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 7:00 p.m.

‘No-No Boy’: The Story of How a Novel goes from 1500 Copies Sold to 158,000 Copies

Keynote Speaker: Shawn Wong

  • Kane Hall 130

In the early 1970s, Shawn Wong and group of young Asian American writers discovered the novel, "No-No Boy" by John Okada, in a used bookstore for fifty cents.  Originally published in 1957, it had not sold out 15 years later. No one had read it and the author had died believing his novel was rejected and forgotten. Wong will share the rediscovery story of "No-No Boy" — how young Asian American writers urged a new audience to recognize the book’s importance and launched its journey from obscurity to canonical work in Asian American literature.

From 1991 to 2017, the Friends of the Libraries held their annual meeting of membership accompanied by a lecture in January. Always open to the public, the meeting became a lecture and reception in 2018 — an opportunity to celebrate the Friends' achievements and to hear from Libraries staff, UW faculty and experts in the community. Past speakers include Nancy Pearl, Michael Collins and Sandi Doughton.