Beautiful Country: An Evening with Qian Julie Wang
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This program was recorded on May 9, 2022.
The Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Distinguished Lecture in Urban History
Author and litigator Qian Julie Wang reflects on her searing literary memoir, Beautiful Country, and considers her own childhood journey from China to Brooklyn in the wider context of New York City immigrant narratives, past and present. Following her talk, she will be joined for a conversation with poet and cultural critic Ken Chen.
Light reception and book signing to follow; books available for purchase.
This program is part of the Museum's celebration of AAPI Heritage Month!
Beautiful Country was released in 2021 and became an instant New York Times bestseller. Lauded as an “essential book for our times” and named one of the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books of 2021, the memoir intimately retraces Qian Julie’s childhood footsteps where at age seven, she moved from China to Brooklyn with her parents, and overnight went from being the daughter of professors to being deemed “illegal.” With an open heart and a strong passion for advocacy and bringing awareness to marginalized communities, she uses her unique gift for storytelling to transcend the business, legal, political, and literary worlds and focus on the humanity at the heart of these issues.
The Museum of the City of New York's annual Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Distinguished Lecture in Urban History invites leading observers to apply insights from disciplines including history, literature, sociology, and architecture to examine the evolution of New York City's five boroughs.
About the Speakers:
Qian Julie Wang is a litigator and the author of Beautiful Country. For a decade, she has represented Fortune 500 corporations, governmental entities, and individuals in complex civil litigation. Qian Julie is now a managing partner at Gottlieb & Wang LLP and is dedicated to advocating for marginalized communities' education and discrimination rights. Qian Julie is a graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College. Her short pieces have appeared in major publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Qian Julie currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two rescue dogs, Salty and Peppers. qianjuliewang.com
Ken Chen is a Professor and Associate Director of Creative Writing at Barnard College. His next book Death Star follows his journey to the underworld to rescue his father and his encounters there with those destroyed by colonialism. For a decade, Chen served as the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and cofounded CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice. His poetry collection, Juvenilia, was selected for the Yale Younger Poets Series by Louise Glück, who wrote, “Like only the best poets, Ken Chen makes with his voice a new category.”
This program is made possible by Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe.