The Dallas Woman's Forum will present a discussion, book signing and champagne reception with best-selling author Sarah Bird on Saturday, January 24, at 3:30 pm at the Alexander Mansion, 4607 Ross Avenue. Bird, who is the author of eight novels, a columnist for Texas Monthly and a contributor to numerous magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine, will discuss her newest work, Above the East China Sea. Tickets are $30 prepaid, or $35 at the door. For prepayment by check or paypal, go to www.dallaswomansforum.org. To pay with credit card call 214-696-8877. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of The Alexander Mansion and the children’s charities of The Dallas Woman’s Forum.
In her most ambitious, moving, and provocative novel to date, Sarah Bird makes a stunning departure. Above the East China Sea tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across seventy years by the shared experience of profound loss, the enduring strength of an ancient culture, and the redeeming power of family love.
Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her strictly-by-the-rules sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okianawa. Luz’s older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister’s death and a lifetime of constant moving from base to base, Luz turns for the comfort her service-hardened mother cannot offer to the “Smokinawans,” the “waste cases,” who gather to get high every night in a deserted cove. When even pills, one-hitters, Cuervo Gold, and a growing crush on Jake Furusato aren’t enough to soften the unbearable edge, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life.
In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba, along with two hundred of her classmates, is plucked out of her elite girls’ high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army’s horrific cave hospitals. With defeat certain, Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. She believes she has lost her entire family, as well as the island paradise she so loved, and, like Luz, she aches with a desire to be reunited with her beloved sister.
Propelled by a riveting narrative and set at the very epicenter of the headline-grabbing clash now emerging between the great powers, Above the East China Sea is at once a remarkable chronicle of how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and a deeply moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time.
ABOUT SARAH BIRD
Sarah is the author of eight novels. The ninth, Above the East China Sea, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in Spring 2014. Sarah has been selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers series; a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship; New York Public Library’s 25 Books to Remember list; Elle Magazine Reader’s Prize; People Magazine’s Page Turners; Library Journal’s Best Novels; and a National Magazine Silver Award for her columns in Texas Monthly. In 2012 Sarah was voted Best Austin Author for the fourth time by the readers of the Austin Chronicle; was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame; and received the Illumine Award for Excellence in Fiction from the Austin Library Foundation. In 2013 she was selected to be The University of Texas’ Libraries Distinguished Author speaker, and was featured on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour.
She has written screenplays for Paramount, CBS, Warner Bros, National Geographic, ABC, TNT, Hemdale Studio, and several independent producers. Sarah’s screen adaptation of her sixth novel, The Flamenco Academy, is currently in development as well as two original screenplays. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, Salon, O Magazine, and is a columnist for Texas Monthly. Sarah, who moved all over the world growing up with her air force family, lives in Austin, Texas.
ABOUT THE DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM
Founded in 1906, The Dallas Woman’s Forum, a 501(c)3, is a century-old organization with a distinguished history of service to the City of Dallas. It is made up of notable professional and civic women leaders who are dedicated to the renovation and maintenance of the Forum’s home, the historic Alexander Mansion on Ross Avenue.
The mansion was built by C.H. Alexander in 1904 and is now one of only two surviving examples (the other being the Belo Mansion) of the majestic residences that once lined the avenue. After passing through two additional owners, it was purchased by The Dallas Woman’s Forum in 1930.
For information, call (214) 823-4533, or visit www.alexandermansiondallas.com