Host Lisa Loving speaks with writer and educator Angie Chuang about her new book "The Four Word for Home." Angie Chuang takes on an assignment to “find the human face of the country we’re about to bomb” weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Her five-year journey into the lives of the Shirzai family transports her far beyond journalism. She travels to their homeland Afghanistan, and becomes intimately involved with the family’s story of loss and triumph over war.
Ultimately, she finds the two families are more similar than she had imagined. It is in journeying far away from her own home and family that she is drawn back to discover her own roots—and to confront the hard truths and broken places that lie at the heart of so many stories of migration and intergenerational struggle.
Angie Chuang was a newspaper reporter for thirteen years, developing one of the first regional newspaper race and ethnicity issues beats for The Oregonian. As part of her reporting on American refugee and immigrant communities, she traveled to Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the post-Katrina Gulf Coast for stories. Her beatwork was recognized with national and regional awards.
Her academic work focuses on American Otherness, constructions of immigrant and minority identity in the news media. Her journal articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Communication, Culture and Critique. She is frequently cited as an expert source on race and identity in national news media and reports.
In addition to writing and researching stories of immigrant Americans, Chuang is the daughter of Chinese American immigrants herself. Her father was born in Fujian, China, and her mother in northern Taiwan. She grew up in the Chinese American enclaves of the San Francisco Bay Area, which figure prominently into chapters about her own youth and family in The Four Words for Home, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She received her B.A. and M.A. in English literature at Stanford University.
Angie Chaung will be in Seattle, Wash.: Reading at The Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 p.m., Friday April 25, 2014.