Jean Kwok Newsletter

APRIL 2011


Girl in Translation cover
 
In This Issue
News
On a Personal Note
Events: National Paperback Tour
UsefulLinks
Useful Links


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Hello,  

Jean with her brother and mother in HKIt's been a dramatic time for GIRL IN TRANSLATION and for me personally as well. A year ago, the novel hadn't been published yet and now, it's out in fifteen countries, plus in audio, e-book, large print, and book club versions. Reviewers and readers have been extremely kind and I've been fortunate enough to travel throughout the US and Europe, giving interviews and readings. I'm preparing to go on another national book tour now in May 2011 for the paperback release. All of this has special meaning to me because two people who were very important to me in the writing of GIRL IN TRANSLATION, my brother Kwan and my mother, passed away within the last eighteen months.  I feel that in a way, they live on in this book. I'm very grateful to all of you for your support of my novel and for helping to keep their memories alive.   

NEWS

American Library Association logo

 

Since publication last May, GIRL IN TRANSLATION's hit the New York Times bestseller list and various other national bestseller lists, been published in 15 countries and sold audio, e-book, large print, and book club rights as well. It was chosen as the winner of an American Library Association's Alex Award, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title, an Indie Next Pick, the winner of Best Cultural Book in BBAW 2010, one of The Guardian's Choice of First Novels, a nominee for QPB's 2010 New Voices Award, one of Woman & Home's Top 30 Books of 2010, one of China Daily's Top 10 Books of 2010, one of the School Library Journal's Best Adult Books4Teens 2010, one of the Best of 2010 at About.com, one of the Best of 2010 at Popmatters.com, one of top 10 favorites by Flavorwire, an Audible.com Best of 2010 Editor's Pick and a Blue Ribbon Pick for numerous book clubs.  

 

Girl in Translation on television

 

In the past 12 months, I flew 9 international trips out of the Netherlands where I live (and yes, greatly increased my frequent flyer status) and was lucky enough to visit places like Helsinki, London, San Francisco, North Carolina, Denver, St. Louis, New York, Milwaukee, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, just to name a few. I did two national American tours, one for booksellers and journalists before publication of the novel and one afterward for the general public (some of my favorite people). 

 

I learned how to do radio and television interviews and am pleased to report that I am no longer absolutely petrified beforehand.  

 

Jean at CNN 

 

And believe it or not, I've even gone on Dutch national television, doing an hour-long interview... in Dutch!  After that, everything in English seems much easier!

 

If you'd like to read more about the reviews and awards, take a look at my website here:  

 

Jean's reviews 


ON A PERSONAL NOTE

 

Jean as a child with her brother KwanIn November 2009, my older brother Kwan disappeared right before Thanksgiving weekend.  None of us knew what had happened to him and slowly, we discovered that he had flown down to Texas to buy a new twin-engine plane. He was a well-known physicist by profession but his hobby was flying. Like my character Kimberly Chang in GIRL IN TRANSLATION, Kwan loved speed in all forms. Jets, helicopters, motorcycles, race cars, he enjoyed them all. Since Kwan had been closer in age to Kimberly than I, I had based parts of her upon him. That Thanksgiving, when we heard that Kwan's plane had disappeared from the radar when he was attempting to fly it home to Virginia, we were very afraid. After a week-long exhaustive hunt employing small planes and soldiers on foot, his plane was found and our worst fears were realized. He had flown in the evening to avoid bad weather which had been predicted to descend the next morning. The storm came early and since he was in the mountains of West Virginia at that time, he'd had no room to maneuver. His plane nicked a tree and crashed.

Two months later, I went on my first national pre-publicity tour through the US to tell journalists and booksellers about my book. It was a shocking contrast to the grief I still felt so deeply, but I was also glad to have a chance to talk about Kwan, and how he'd been a part of this novel.
 
Jean with her mother at Columbia graduationThree months after that, GIRL IN TRANSLATION was actually published in May 2010 and I went on a national tour again.  My publisher brought my entire family to my book launch in NYC, transporting all of them in style. Although my mother couldn't speak any English, she understood enough from her seat in the front row to be very proud. My entire publishing team was there and told her some very kind (and exaggerated) things about me and my book, to which she replied, "Dank you." After that, I entered into a whirlwind period of interviews, travel, filmings and readings.  A month or two later, in the summer of 2010, we found out that my mother had cancer.  She passed away in October 2010.  

It is now April 2011 and I am preparing to go on national tour again, for the paperback release in May. I can only say how very grateful I am that this novel was published before my mother passed away. My brother Kwan had also read the advance proofs and was very pleased about his role in the novel as well. Those of you who have read the book know how important the role of Ma is in the novel, and that I actually wrote this book to tell my own mother's story. I wanted to let people know how someone could come across as very simple in English, yet be wise, funny and articulate in their own language. I miss both Kwan and my mother very much, but I am so glad that they are a part of GIRL IN TRANSLATION.  For me, every single person who reads this book is helping to keep their memories alive.  

 

Jean's brother and mother

EVENTS: NATIONAL PAPERBACK TOUR

Girl in Translation cover

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4:  

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 

BOOK PASSAGE

1 Ferry Building

San Francisco, CA 94111

6:00 PM

Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

THURSDAY, MAY 5: 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

CAPITOLA BOOK CAFE
1475 41st Ave
Capitola, CA 95010
7:30 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 6: 
LOS ANGELES, CA

VROMAN'S BOOKSTORE
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
7:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

SATURDAY, MAY 7: 
PHOENIX, AZ

CHANGING HANDS
6428 S McClintock Dr
Tempe, AZ 85283
5:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

SUNDAY, MAY 8: 
SEATTLE - TACOMA, WA

ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY
1521 10th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
2:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

MONDAY, MAY 9: 
PORTLAND, OR

BARNES & NOBLE
12000 SE 82nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97266
7:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

TUESDAY, MAY 10: 
CHICAGO, IL

THE BOOKSTALL AT CHESTNUT COURT
811 Elm St
Winnetka, IL 60093
7:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11: 
PITTSBURGH, PA

CITY OF ASYLUM
Location to be announced.
For more information, please see:

City of Asylum website

7:00 PM
Talk, Q&A, and Signing 

 

THURSDAY, MAY 12: 

NEW YORK, NY

BARNES & NOBLE 

97 Warren St. (at Greenwich St.)

New York, NY 10007

7:00 PM

Talk, Q&A, and Signing

 

 

Please check my website for the latest version of my tour events:

 

Jean's agenda 

 

If you can come to any of my events, the rule is that you have to come up and say hello to me afterward! I am myself the type of person who would tend to sneak out the back door but I hope you wouldn't dream of doing anything as cowardly as that. I'd love to see you! 


I post all about my life on Facebook and Twitter, so to keep up with the latest news, click here:

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There are other useful links in the aptly-named Useful Links box, above left.  Thanks so much for caring enough to read this newsletter and I do hope to see you in person soon!

Best,

Jean Kwok 

 


Girl in Translation

by Jean Kwok 
Paperback 
Release Date: May 3, 2011