Ten Evenings

R.F. Kuang

“Every writer I know feels this way about someone else. Writing is such a solitary activity. You have no assurance that what you’re creating has any value, and any indication that you’re behind in the rat race sends you spiraling into the pits of despair. Keep your eyes on your own paper, they say. But that’s hard to do when everyone else’s papers are flapping constantly in your face.”

R.F. Kuang, Yellowface

White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences… Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American–in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R.F. Kuang.

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

When June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, and Yellowface. Her work has won the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, and British Book Awards. A Marshall Scholar, she has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, where she studies diaspora, contemporary Sinophone literature, and Asian American literature.

“This is a great read. Crime, satire, horror, paranoia, questions of cultural appropriation. Plenty of nasty social media pile-ons, too. But, basically, just a great story. Hard to put down, harder to forget.”

Stephen King

Books

Copies of Yellowface are available to purchase from White Whale Bookstore. After the lecture, the author will sign books in the Music Hall Foyer.

WHEN

April 28, 2025 at 7:30 p.m. ET

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Upcoming Lectures

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