Please join us for a reading, conversation, audience Q&A, and book signing in celebration of The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh. For this event, E.J. will be in conversation with Nina Li Coomes.
After living in America for more than a decade, Eun Ji Koh's parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen- year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother's absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love, letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box. As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history--her grandmother Jun's years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre--and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words--in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language--to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love?
E. J. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize. Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. She is the recipient of MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships and a 2017 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship and was runner-up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize.
Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer. She was born in Nagoya and raised in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, EATER, and Catapult, among other places. She is an alumna of Young Chicago Authors and the winner of the 2013 Louder Than A Bomb College Slam. In 2014, she co-wrote a bilingual poetry show titled Fressen that toured Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. In 2017, she was a part of the Kundiman Creative Nonfiction Intensive and in 2018 was an Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellow in Memoir.
Accessibility: Our store is wheelchair accessible, however--there is a narrow hallway and sharp 90-degree turn on the way to our bathrooms. Seating is first-come, first-served, but we are happy to reserve seats for people with disabilities. We have LED lighting that can be adjusted with dimmers. Please call the store at 773-769-9299 the day of the event if you need a reserved seat or have additional questions.