October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-Essayist brenda Lin will be at Amherst College on Tuesday, Oct. 5, visiting creative writing classes throughout the day, and reading from her new book, Wealth Ribbon: Taiwan Bound, America Bound, at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books (8 Main St.) Her reading, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Amherst College English Department and the Eastman Fund.
Wealth Ribbon offers a half-dozen essays that share a narrative theme, telling the story of the coming-of-age of Taiwan with three generations of the author's family history and relationship with American culture. Lin explores what it is like to have a transnational identity and shows how the everyday politics of an international cultural identity is in fact quite universal.
"Language" focuses on Lin's grandmother, who grew up in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation speaking Japanese fluently and developing a strong cultural tie to Japan. "Place" traces the story of Lin's father, whom she uses as a symbol for the new Taiwanese identity of his generation. "Nationality" describes Lin's first trip to mainland China. In the last three chapters-"Home," "Translations," and "Umbilical Cord"-the three generations of Lin's family, which represent both similar and different languages and cultures, come together in a sometimes cacophonous, other times melodious, symphony of emotions.
Lin grew up in Taiwan and moved to the United States when she was 17. She received an M.F.A. degree from Columbia University. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Full Circle Journal and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.