Marilyn Chase

in conversation with Jan Yanehiro

Recorded Sunday, October 25th, 2020

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Marilyn Chase in conversation with Jan Yanehiro

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Marilyn Chase’s compelling new biography, Everything She Touched, recounts the life of WWII prison camp survivor Ruth Asawa, who broke barriers of race and gender to become an artist of genius. 

Marilyn is an author, journalist and teacher at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. After more than two decades as a reporter and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, focusing on health science, she returned to independent writing and teaching. She has taught narrative writing at her alma mater Stanford, as well as news, health, business and narrative writing as a Continuing Lecturer for her grad school at U.C. Berkeley. She is also the author of The Barbary Plague: the Black Death in Victorian San Francisco, which tells the story of a young public health doctor treating patients during an outbreak of bubonic plague in the city’s Chinatown in 1900.

Jan Yanehiro is a well renowned broadcast journalist who has won several Emmys for her work. She has also co-authored three books including This is Not The Life I Ordered.

“Tempting as it is to view Asawa’s life as an artistic rags-to riches parable, the story is far more shaded and nuanced. That rich narrative emerges in a scrupulously researched and lucidly written new book Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa by Marilyn Chase.”

– Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle 

Get ready to join Marilyn in conversation, Sunday, October 25th.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation.

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any that match your interests.

Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 4

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    What was the intrigue for you in writing a book about Ruth Asawa? Has the response to the book surprised you? Are you an artist yourself?

  • 3

    votes

    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

  • 2

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    What process did Ruth Asawa use in working with students on the union square sculpture? She was an inspiration to so many young people through her workshops and her creative art.

  • 2

    votes

    What is most different about writing a novel vs a periodical? Which do you prefer?

  • 1

    votes

    What are you working on now?

  • 1

    votes

    What is the main role of a reporter? What is the hardest part of writing a novel for a reporter?

  • 1

    votes

    How did you do research for “The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco”? What drew you to this topic?

  • 0

    votes

    Would I be able to watch at a later time, or is it “live” only?

  • 0

    votes

    What do you know about Ruth’s Table in San Francisco?

  • 0

    votes

    What has been the most challenging part of researching and writing your biography of Ruth?

  • 0

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    I voted for several questions already listed, thanks!

  • 0

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    Marilyn, please comment on the use of Ruth Asawa’s first name throughout the book…as opposed to her surname.

  • 0

    votes

    How has the pandemic affected you as a writer?

  • 0

    votes

    How do you decide which stories to tell? What draws you to a story?

  • 0

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    What is the last thing you read or saw that moved you?

  • 0

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    Have you always been a writer?