Two award-winning Japanese American authors, Kathleen Burkinshaw and Naomi Hirahara, join together for the first time to discuss how they felt compelled to tell the stories of their Hiroshima hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) parents through novels.
Burkinshaw’s middle-grade book, The Last Cherry Blossom, has become a resource for teachers and students under the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Hirahara’s Mas Arai mysteries span seven books, with the last Edgar Award-nominated one, Hiroshima Boy, being translated in Japanese for a 2021 release by Shogakukan. These two women, who live on different sides of the United States, will also share the back story of their novels, the problems of white-washing the atomic-bombing, and their quest for peace.
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Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020.