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Teen Author Fest presents: Gloria Chao


As a part of Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Author Fest celebrations, Gloria Chao will lead a writing workshop at the Cumberland branch, Wednesday, October 23 at 7 pm.

Typically, Teen fiction follows characters who are of high school age but being a teenager doesn’t end after you graduate. In Gloria Chao’s debut American Panda, readers follow 17-year old Mei, a Taiwanese-American teen experiencing her freshman year at MIT. Mei’s parents have made sacrifices so she can have the life they’ve envisioned for her - become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese man – but Mei begins to realize that these are not the things she wants. The sight of blood makes her faint, she’s finding herself attracted to her Japanese (*not* Taiwanese) classmate, and she’s reconnected with her estranged brother, who was cut off from the family after he married the wrong woman. How can Mei affirm what she wants without upsetting her relationship with her overbearing parents?

In her follow-up, Our Wayward Fate, Chao once again explores the experience of a young Taiwanese-American girl, but this time in a small American town. Ali Chu is the only Asian-American person at her exclusively white school, so she does what she can to fit in, including ignoring the microaggressions and vaguely racist comments from her teachers and classmates. But when a new student who is also Taiwanese comes to town, Ali finds a kindred spirit – someone she can share her experience and culture with. However, for reasons unknown, her mother forces her to end it, prompting Ali to dig into the secrets of her family’s past. What follows will make Ali question everything she thought she knew about life and love.

We hope you’ll join us to learn about Gloria’s journey to discovering her passion for writing and how she found her voice!