News Release - July 29, 2008

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2008

Contact: Marcia Schneider (415) 557-4252

West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story Selected as 2008 One City One Book

San Francisco, CA - San Francisco Public Library is pleased to announce that West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story by San Francisco writer Tamim Ansary is the 2008 One City One Book: San Francisco Reads selection.

Mayor Gavin Newsom says, "With West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, we all have a chance to learn more about a country that we hear about in the news all the time, but may not yet have a personal connection to. Tamim Ansary gives us that chance, to learn about the history and culture of Afghanistan, to consider the connections between San Francisco and the Middle East and to learn one man’s story of defining a life where his Afghan and American identities meet."

San Francisco Public Library and One City One Book partners will explore and celebrate San Francisco author Tamim Ansary's memoir with book discussions, author events, a film series, a Litquake event, a knitting program and more. Program guides and other materials will be available at libraries, bookstores, and other venues throughout San Francisco.

Sponsors for One City One Book 2008 include the San Francisco Public Library, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. The program is also supported by bookstore partners including Books Inc., Green Apple Books, Book Passage, Booksmith, Cover to Cover, Stacey’s, City Lights, Borders, B&N, SFSU Bookstore, Red Hill Books, Modern Times, Get Lost Books, Christopher's Books, Bibliohead, Asian Art Museum Bookstore; program partners including Litquake, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, Book Group Expo, LitMinds, Mechanics' Institute; and media sponsors including KPIX/CBS5.

One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is an annual citywide literary event that encourages members of the San Francisco community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and at events throughout the City. By building bridges between communities and generations through the reading-and most importantly the discussion of- one book, we hope to help make reading a lifelong pursuit and to build a more literate society. Previous selections include Cane River and The Hummingbird's Daughter.

In West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, we travel at Ansary's side, and he gives us rare access to Afghan culture-from the time of "old Afghanistan," through Soviet rule, and later the Taliban. After 9/11, Afghanistan once again found itself upon the world’s stage and in direct conflict with the United States-and yet, the country was as obscure to the West as ever. Tamim Ansary, who has lived embedded in both American and Afghan society, is uniquely capable of reaching across both cultures, and through his experiences he begins to inspire the empathy necessary to transcend differences. His stirring memoir offers much to discuss.

West of Kabul, East of New York is available at the Library in paperback and audio format.

About the Author:

Tamim Ansary, author of West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, the 2008 selection for One City One Book: San Francisco Reads, writes and lectures about Afghanistan, Islamic history, democracy, schooling and learning, fiction and the writing process, and other issues as they grab his imagination. He also directs the San Francisco Writers Workshop, the oldest continuous free writers' workshop in America and the hub of a growing community of Bay Area writers. He lives in San Francisco and is currently at work on his next book. Visit his website for more information:

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