Houston Public Library, Asia Society Host Acclaimed YA Author Malinda Lo in Houston
HOUSTON, May 12, 2022 — In partnership with Houston Public Library (HPL), Asia Society Texas welcomed National Book Award-winning, bestselling author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club Malinda Lo for an intimate conversation and audience Q&A. As part of the HPL Teen Books Alive event, audience members enjoyed a photo opportunity with the book cover as backdrop, an interactive create-your-own pulp novel cover activity, and a book-signing.
During the event, Lo shared how she accidentally got into writing Young Adult (YA) fiction — simply because the publishers who were interested in her first novel, Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, were YA publishers. Her sequel, Huntress, naturally had to be YA as well, and then Lo said she found herself a YA author. She noted that at the time she was one of few Asian women authors writing YA fantasy, which led her and fellow author Cindy Pon to create the Diversity in YA movement and book tour to celebrate diverse authors and characters in the genre. Lo clarified she is not related to the current We Need Diverse Books movement and organization beyond being a supporter, though she expressed her gratitude for the work that organization is doing in uplifting the growing number of nonwhite authors in YA and their stories.
Help Us Build a More Inclusive World
Speaking to her own writing process, Lo said that every story is different, ranging from fantasy to thriller to historical novel; some of her books are more plot-driven while others are more character-driven or in need of more research, such as Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which required Lo to visit the GLBT Historical Society archives in San Francisco. But Lo said common themes in her writing are lesbian female Asian characters — reflecting her own identity, which she said she experiences fully rather than separated into discrete components no matter how others may see her.
When taking audience questions, Lo shared that part of her writing process includes meditating every morning and deleting Twitter to avoid distractions. She touched on the recent book bannings and uproar around teaching history in Texas, urging the audience to stay informed about their local issues and getting involved. Finally, she revealed that she had come to Houston in part to do research at NASA for an upcoming book — and hoped that she would get to return soon.
Education and Outreach programs at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. Generous funding also provided by Margie and Joe Blommaert, Cathay Bank Foundation, Chevron, the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, and H-E-B. Additional support is provided by Friends of Asia Society Texas Center, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the best in exhibitions and public programming to Houston.