3.11.2005

Editors' note: Writer Paula Kamen will be guest-blogging here on Fridays in March.

IRIS CHANG (1968-2004)
By Paula Kamen

Speaking of tackling unpleasant subjects and shunning stigmas, I wanted to announce a Chicago memorial this Saturday for my college friend Iris Chang, who committed suicide last November in San Jose at the age of 36.  She was the bestselling author of the eye-opening The Rape of Nanking, about atrocities committed against the Chinese during World War II (with which many other survivors of atrocity, including the Holocaust, identified).

She wrote two other questioning journalistic books related to Asians in America:  The Thread of the Silkworm and The Chinese in America: A History.  (In other words, in her big-picture view of the world beyond herself, she was the OPPOSITE of chick lit!)

In her esteemed career, she was able to challenge entire governments, but she lost her recent battle with mental illness, a more formidable enemy.

I will be speaking at the memorial, giving a version of a eulogy I wrote about her for Salon.com.

(Salon may make you watch a Cadillac commercial first, before you can read it, so I apologize.)

Her death is still a shock, since she was one of the most brave, vibrant and talented people I have ever known. She was always inspiring me and others with her nervy-to-the-point-of-offending people ambition and sense of "thinking big" with one's writing.

CHICAGO MEMORIAL:
Date: 3-12-05
Place: Chinese Community Center of Chicago
250 W. 22nd Place, Chicago
2 pm
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