Conversation with 'Shanghai Girls' author Lisa See set for Nov. 17

In celebration of International Education Week (Nov. 15-19), the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) and Penn State University Libraries are co-sponsoring a community read of Lisa See's latest novel, "Shanghai Girls," as well as an opportunity to engage in a live conversation with the author.

Penn State students, faculty and staff, as well as the wider State College community are encouraged to collectively read "Shanghai Girls," the novel that Booklist calls a "buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood." The reading experience will culminate with a conversation with Lisa See live via teleconference at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, in Foster Auditorium (room 102 Paterno Library). Those interested in attending the teleconference may register for the event at online.

"Shanghai Girls" is described on the author's website as "a story of immigration, identity, war and love, but at its heart...a story of sisters." The story is set in the 1930s, as sisters Pearl and May leave Shanghai, China and venture to Los Angeles as arranged brides. The sisters are torn between two cultures as they strive to build a new life while still tied to the old.

See is no stranger to Penn State, having spoken at the Penn State Forum luncheon in April 2010 on the topic, "The Secrets We Keep: Finding the Lost Voice of China, Women and Our Families." She is the author of such critically-acclaimed bestsellers as "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" (2005) and "Peony in Love" (2007).

See, who was born in Paris but spent much of her childhood in Los Angeles Chinatown with her father's family of Chinese descent, represents the global citizen ideal that the University Office of Global Programs promotes as a goal to all students, faculty and staff. Not only do her books heavily feature Chinese history and culture, but she has also explored her Chinese-American heritage by a variety of other means. She wrote the libretto for an opera in 2000 based on her novel "On Gold Mountain;" she served as guest curator for an exhibit on the Chinese-American experience that traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 2001; and she designed a walking tour of Los Angeles Chinatown and wrote the companion guidebook. She also currently serves as a Los Angeles city commissioner.

International Education Week (IEW) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education for the purpose of celebrating the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

For more about this and other IEW events, visit the Global Programs website at and click on "International Education Week events," or contact Sandi Richter, UOGP special events assistant at

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Last Updated January 09, 2015