Author: Kathryn Ma in Conversation with Natalie Baszile

18th One City One Book
Saturday, 5/4/2024
2:00 - 3:30
Koret Auditorium
Koret Lobby
Main Library

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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Kathryn Ma discusses her book, The Chinese Groove, the story of 18-year-old Shelley's journey from China's Yunnan Province to San Francisco, where he confronts familial discord, cultural adaptation and personal aspirations while leaning on the notion of the "Chinese groove" to navigate his new reality. Ma will be in conversation with Natalie Baszile, author of Queen Sugar and We Are Each Other's Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy.

Initially sent to live with his supposed rich uncle, Shelley discovers that reality diverges sharply from his hopes. Instead, he finds himself in a crowded rooming house, juggling school, work and relationships while always reaching for his hope of becoming a poet and rekindling a romance with his American ex-girlfriend.  

As Shelley traverses the challenges of his new surroundings, he leans on the concept of the "Chinese groove," an unspoken connection among fellow immigrants, to navigate his new reality. Through humorous yet poignant encounters and unexpected twists, Shelley confronts the challenges of family and finding a home, grief and the pursuit of success in a foreign land. 

Amidst the episodic plot and diverse cast of characters, including his not-so-rich second cousin Ted and Ted's Jewish wife Aviva, Shelley's journey unfolds with both resilience and introspection. 

Kathryn Ma is the author of the widely praised novel The Year She Left Us, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR “Great Read” of the year. Her short story collection, All That Work and Still No Boys, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award and was named a San Francisco Chronicle “Notable Book” and a Los Angeles Times “Discoveries Book.” She is also a recipient of the David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction and has twice been named a San Francisco Public Library er new latest book, The Chinese Groove is San Franisco Public Library 18th One City One Book. 

Natalie Baszille photo image Natalie Baszile, with an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, is a Warren Wilson College MFA graduate. Queen Sugar earned a spot on the San Francisco Chronicles' Best Books of 2014 and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Her latest work, We Are Each Other's Harvest, explores Black Americans' connection to the land post-Emancipation. Baszile has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, and the Djerassi Resident Arts Program where she received the SFFILM and the Bonnie Rattner Fellowships. Her non-fiction has appeared in Lenny Letter, The Bitter Southerner and more. Baszile, a San Francisco Writers' Grotto member, resides in the Bay Area. 



Kathryn Ma – Website | Kathryn Ma – Instagram 

Natalie Baszile – Website | Natalie Baszile –Instagram 

Engage with your favorite writers and discover your next read.

Events and workshops curated around SFPL’s One City One Book selection. One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is a citywide literary event that encourages members of the San Francisco community to read the same book at the same time. For more information, see sfpl.org/onecityonebook.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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