Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide

By Guiyou Huang | Go to book overview

SYLVIA A.WATANABE (1953-)

Gayle K. Sato


♦ BIOGRAPHY

Born in Wailuku, Maui, and raised in Kailua, Oahu, Sylvia Watanabe is a third-generation Japanese American. She majored in art history at the University of Hawaii (B.A. 1980), earned an M.A. in English and creative writing at SUNY-Binghamton in 1985, and spent the next ten years on the road with husband William Osborn in search of tenured positions. They now commute between Michigan, where Osborn teaches, and Ohio, where Watanabe has taught in the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College since 1995. Hawaii, however, remains the primary setting and inspiration for Watanabe's work, including her major achievement in the short story genre, Talking to the Dead.

Watanabe's reflections on her journey from Maui to the Midwest can be found in “Knowing Your Place, ” an award-winning essay first published in Michigan Quarterly Review. Focusing on a particularly difficult uprooting from Hayward, California, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the summer of 1988, Watanabe interprets relocation through two conflicting histories of ancestral home-seeking and home-founding, represented by John Coggeshall, a distant ancestor on Osborn's side of the family, and Yakichi Watanabe, the author's paternal grandfather. Whereas Coggeshall, as Watanabe observes, became “the first governor of Rhode Island after testifying in the trial of Anne Hutchinson” (321), her grandfather, a missionary-educated Presbyterian minister from Japan, was interned at a military prison in New Mexico during World War II after thirty-five years of Christian service to his Maui community (317, 322). Watanabe herself, in the eyes of many, would appear to have traveled vast distances from her grandfather, but she wraps up her reflections on relocation by noting that if white neighbors—however earnest and well-

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Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction - The Asian American Short Story—the Cases of Sui Sin Far, Yamamoto, and Penaranda xiii
  • Peter Bacho (1950-) 1
  • Himani Bannerji (1942-) 5
  • Susham Bedi (1945-) 11
  • Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (1947-) 17
  • Carlos Bulosan (1911-1956) 23
  • Jeffery Paul Chan (1942-) 31
  • G.S.Sharat Chandra (1938-2000) 39
  • Diana Chang (1934-) 45
  • Frank Chin (1940-) 51
  • Susan Choi (1969-) 61
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (1956-) 65
  • Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1865-1914) 73
  • Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954) 85
  • Jessica Hagedorn (1949-) 93
  • Gish Jen (1956-) 101
  • Ha Jin (1956-) 109
  • Lonny Kaneko (1939-) 115
  • Alex Kuo (1939-) 119
  • Jhumpa Lahiri (1967-) 125
  • Andrew Lam (1963-) 135
  • Evelyn Lau (1971-) 141
  • Chang-Rae Lee (1965-) 147
  • Don Lee (1959-) 151
  • Monfoon Leong (1916-1964) 155
  • Russell Leong (1950-) 159
  • Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (1944-) 167
  • David Wong Louie (1954-) 173
  • Darrell H.Y.Lum (1950-) 177
  • Rohinton Mistry (1952-) 183
  • Shani Mootoo (1958-) 189
  • Toshio Mori (1910-1980) 195
  • Bharati Mukherjee (1940-) 203
  • Fae Myenne Ng (1956-) 215
  • Hualing Nieh (1925-) 225
  • Susan Nunes (1943-) 237
  • Gary Pak (1952-) 243
  • Ty Pak (1938-) 251
  • Nahid Rachlin (1947-) 257
  • Raja Rao (1908-) 263
  • Patsy Sumie Saiki (1915-) 269
  • Bienvenido N. Santos (1911-1996) 273
  • Kathleen Tyau (1947-) 281
  • José Garcia Villa (1908-1997) 287
  • Sylvia A.Watanabe (1953-) 295
  • Hisaye Yamamoto (Desoto) (1921-) 303
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka (1961-) 317
  • Karen Tei Yamashita (1951-) 327
  • Wakako Yamauchi (1924-) 333
  • John Yau (1950-) 337
  • Selected Bibliography 345
  • Index 349
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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