We are delighted to welcome author Susan Kiyo Ito to the store for a discussion featuring her new memoir, I Would Meet You Anywhere, an exploration of not only her experiences with her birth mother, love, family, and identity as a Japanese American adoptee, but the larger legacies of Japanese American experience in the United States, including the lasting traumas of World War II internment. This book isn't only about the hope of healing and closure for one relationship, but Susan's own experience with deciding whether or not to mother–a decision that echoes her own mother's choice–a choice of time and place, a choice of bodily autonomy, and a choice along the tightropes of racial tensions. She will be in conversation with award-winning essayist Gayle Brandeis.
I Would Meet You Anywhere has been longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography!
This event is free with registration. To register, please CLICK HERE.
More About the Book: Growing up with adoptive Nisei parents, Susan Kiyo Ito knew only that her birth mother was Japanese American and her father white. But finding and meeting her birth mother in her early twenties was only the beginning of her search for answers, history, and identity. Though the two share a physical likeness, an affinity for ice cream, and a relationship that sometimes even feels familial, there is an ever-present tension between them, as a decades-long tug-of-war pits her birth mother’s desire for anonymity against Ito’s need to know her origins, to see and be seen. Along the way, Ito grapples with her own reproductive choices, the legacy of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, and the true meaning of family. An account of love, what it’s like to feel neither here nor there, and one writer’s quest for the missing pieces that might make her feel whole, I Would Meet You Anywhere is the stirring culmination of Ito’s decision to embrace her right to know and tell her own story.
Lee Herrick, California Poet Laureate, says, “If it is possible to feel all the emotions in a single book, this is it. Determined to no longer be the secret or the ‘wild inconvenience,’ Susan Ito writes with grace, courage, and wonder. I Would Meet You Anywhere is a cinematic, breathtaking journey of family, identity, and secrets: an instant classic in adoption literature.”
More About the Author: Susan Kiyo Ito is the co-editor of the literary anthology A Ghost at Heart’s Edge: Stories and Poems of Adoption. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. A MacDowell Fellow, she has also been awarded residencies at the Mesa Refuge, Hedgebrook, and Blue Mountain Center. She has performed her solo show, The Ice Cream Gene, around the US and adapted Untold Stories: Life, Love, and Reproduction for the theater. She writes and teaches in the Bay Area.
More About Our Conversation Partner: Gayle Brandeis is the author of Drawing/Breath: Inhales and Exhales on Body and Word, an exploration of both the writing life and the embodied life, along with potent intersection between the two. From the title essay investigating the connection between writing and breath to the final essay, which delves into Brandeis' experience with long-haul Covid and its impact on her creative voice, this collection is infused with the urgency of mortality, thrumming with grief, authenticity, and a deep love for both language and the world of the senses. Her other works include Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write and the novels The Book of Dead Birds, which won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement, Self Storage, Delta Girls, and My Life with the Lincolns, which received a Silver Nautilus Book Award and was chosen as a statewide read in Wisconsin. Her most recent books include the poetry collection, The Selfless Bliss of the Body.
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
“Susan Kiyo Ito is like a surgeon operating on herself. She is delicate, precise, and at times cutting with her words. But it is all in service of her own healing and to encourage us all to be brave enough to do the same in our own stories.” —W.