The Free Library is excited to kick off our 11th season of One Book, One Philadelphia tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Parkway Central Library! This year's featured selection, PEN/Faulkner Award winner The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, examines issues of gender, identity, and immigration as seen through the lens of Japanese American women during the first half of the 20th century. Using a poetic, collective narrative voice, The Buddha in the Attic tells the stories of Japanese "picture brides," who travelled from Japan to San Francisco in the early 1900s, tracing their experiences as wives, mothers, breadwinners, and marginalized members of American society during both peacetime and the onset of World War II.
Tonight's kick off features a discussion and Q&A with featured author Julie Otsuka; a dramatic reading and performance by Distant Voices Touring Theatre based on the diary of a Japanese American internee in the camps of World War II, underscored throughout with selections from traditional Japanese folk songs and music from 19th- and 20th-century composers; and a performance of an original music composition that was inspired by The Buddha in the Attic and written by Riho Maimets, a student at the Curtis Institute of Music. Over the next eight weeks, Philadelphians will enjoy book discussion groups, special film screenings, children's craft workshops, food tastings and demonstrations, and so much more. Check out our online calendar of One Book events for complete listings, and make sure you stop by Parkway Central tonight for the kick off!