R.F. Kuang at First Parish Church


A Novel

in conversation with KALYANI SAXENA

Please Note: This event is sold out. There will not be a stand-by line.


May 23, 2023
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30)


FPC Meetinghouse
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138


$35.00 (book included)

Harvard Book Store welcomes R.F. KUANG—#1 New York Times-bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy and Babel—for a discussion of her new novel Yellowface. She will be joined in conversation by associate producer for Here & Now, KALYANI SAXENA.

Please Note: Due to high ticket demand, this event has now been moved to First Parish Church at 1446 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to re-introduce in-person programming this season. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our First Parish events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the venue.
  • For the time being, we will not be holding author signings at these events, in order to limit close contact. When possible, we will have pre-signed books available for purchase on-site.


Tickets include admission for one and one hardcover copy of Yellowface signed by the author.

About Yellowface

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.

So 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.

Praise for Yellowface

"Yellowface is one of the most transfixing novels I’ve read in ages . . . Kuang boldly interrogates literary hot-button issues like privilege, appropriation, and authenticity, leaving it open for readers themselves to decide where to draw the line." —Zakiya Dalila Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Black Girl

Yellowface is a brittle, eviscerating read that affected me bodily. Kuang’s oeuvre consistently finds new ways to expose and interrogate systems of power, in this case tackling the commodification and consumption of art with both swagger and sophistication. Yellowface really is THAT bitch.” —Olivie Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six

"Yellowface is brilliant satire--thought provoking, thrilling, and hitting a little too close to home. A must read commentary on the line between representation and exploitation and those who are willing to cross it for fame. Everyone in publishing's wide orbit should read this, and take a long look in the mirror." —Vaishnavi Patel, New York Times bestselling author of Kaikeyi

"Yellowface is a spicy, satirical page-turner that skewers the racism and tokenization in the publishing and entertainment industries, the vanity of social media, and the lengths at which people will go to remain in the glaring spotlight." —Tracey Lien, author of All That's Left Unsaid

Kalyani Saxena
Kalyani Saxena

Kalyani Saxena

Kalyani Saxena is an associate producer for Here & Now. She previously interned for Here & Now during the fall of 2019, where she produced the top story of the week as well as other trending segments. She went on to produce and report for NPR — first as the intern for the Washington Desk during the 2020 election and then as a news assistant for Weekend All Things Considered.

R. F. Kuang
R. F. Kuang

R. F. Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times-bestselling, Astounding Award-winning and the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award-nominated author of the Poppy War trilogy and Babel. Her work has won the Crawford Award and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. A Marshall Scholar and Chinese-English translator with 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.

Photo Credit: John Packman


FPC Meetinghouse
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138

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