Book Talk | Eat the Buddha: Being Tibetan in 21st Century ChinaVIEW EVENT DETAILS
A conversation with award-winning author Barbara Demick
Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick’s most recent book, Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town reveals what it is really like to be a Tibetan in twenty-first century China, striving to preserve one’s unique cultural, religious, and linguistic identity against the policies of a seemingly unstoppable superpower, including forced assimilation of Tibetan children at state-run residential schools.
Eat the Buddha spans decades of modern Tibetan and Chinese history, as told through the private lives of her subjects, among them a princess whose family was wiped out during the Cultural Revolution, a young Tibetan nomad who becomes radicalized in the storied monastery of Kirti, an upwardly mobile entrepreneur who falls in love with a Chinese woman, a poet and intellectual who risks everything to voice his resistance, and a Tibetan schoolgirl forced to choose at an early age between her family and the lure of Chinese money. All of them face the same dilemma: Do they resist the Chinese, or do they join them? Do they adhere to Buddhist teachings of compassion and nonviolence, or do they fight?
Join us for a conversation with the author and Asia Society’s Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia awardee Barbara Demick. She will be in conversation with Philipp Ivanov, Asia Society’s Chief Programming Officer. The Q&A session will be followed by book signing.
Barbara Demick is the author of Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Nothing to Envy was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize in the United Kingdom. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. She is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, and was recently a press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Philipp Ivanov (moderator) is Chief Programming Officer at Asia Society leading global programs and collaborations among our 16 centers, Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, and served as Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Society Australia Center from 2015 to 2023. In 2023, he was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting fellow at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. Previously, he worked on China policy for the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and as a Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney. He was awarded the Australian Government’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship to conduct research on China’s policies for leadership development at the National Academy of Education Administration in Beijing.