Please join us virtually for a special evening with New Orleans author Elizabeth Miki Brina featuring her debut memoir, SPEAK, OKINAWA, a searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman's journey to understanding her complicated parents--her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran--and her own, fraught cultural heritage. She will appear in conversation with Randy Bates, Professor Emeritus at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop.
- Please purchase a copy of SPEAK, OKINAWA now from Octavia Books at https://www.octaviabooks.com//book/9780525657347. Books will be signed by the author.
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"In Speak, Okinawa, Elizabeth Miki Brina beautifully combs a lifetime of memory, love, loss, and the connections that bind us to one another. In exploring how one comes to be, Brina’s prose illuminates and dazzles—and we see, in the end, what was intangible made clear in her writing. Speak, Okinawa is indelible, and Brina’s words are unforgettable.” —Bryan Washington, author of Memorial
Elizabeth’s mother was working as a nightclub hostess on U.S.-occupied Okinawa when she met the American soldier who would become her husband. The language barrier and power imbalance that defined their early relationship followed them to the predominantly white, upstate New York suburb where they moved to raise their only daughter. There, Elizabeth grew up with the trappings of a typical American childhood and adolescence. Yet even though she felt almost no connection to her mother’s distant home, she also felt out of place among her peers. Decades later, Elizabeth comes to recognize the shame and self-loathing that haunt both her and her mother, and attempts a form of reconciliation, not only to come to terms with the embattled dynamics of her family but also to reckon with the injustices that reverberate throughout the history of Okinawa and its people. Clear-eyed and profoundly humane, Speak, Okinawa is a startling accomplishment—a heartfelt exploration of identity, inheritance, forgiveness, and what it means to be an American.
Elizabeth Miki Brina is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Bread Loaf Scholarship and a New York State Summer Writers Institute Scholarship. She currently lives and teaches in New Orleans.
Randy Bates’s credits include RINGS: On the Life and Family of a Southern Fighter (prose), Dolphin Island (poems), an NEA grant, and many periodical publications. From 1999-2019, he taught nonfiction in the MFA program at the University of New Orleans.
A searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman's journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage.