My name is Curtis Chin and I am a writer and documentary filmmaker. In the Fall of 2023, Little, Brown will be publishing my memoir, “Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant.” The book is about growing up Asian in Detroit and coming out to my working-class immigrant family, all set against the 80’s and my family’s popular restaurant.
Publishers Weekly just named it one of the Top 10 memoirs for the fall. Given the subject of your quest, I thought you might be interested in my book. We have our official book launch at the Strand Book Store, located at 828 Broadway, corner 12th Street New York, NY 10003 (map), on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at 7:00 PM. [You can pre-order your copy here]
From filmmaker and co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Curtis Chin’s memoir about coming of age, and coming out, traces the author’s journey through 1980’s Detroit as he navigated rising xenophobia, the AIDS epidemic, and the Reagan Revolution to find his voice as a writer and activist all set against the backdrop of his family’s popular Chinese restaurant.
The book, which features plenty of Chinese food and Motown vibes, will be published by Little, Brown in the fall of 2023. Publisher’s Weekly has named it one of the Top 10 memoirs for this fall. Curtis Chin, a co-founder of the Asian American Writers™ Workshop in New York City. Curtis served as the non-profit first Executive Director. He went on to write for network and cable television before transitioning to social justice documentaries.
Chin has screened his films at over 600 venues in sixteen countries. He has written for CNN, Bon Appetit, the Detroit Free Press, and the Emancipator/Boston Globe. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Chin has received awards from ABC/Disney Television, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more.
His memoir, “Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant” will be published by Little, Brown in Fall 2023. He’s currently writing projects for PBS and Warner Bros. and his essay in Bon Appetit was just selected for Best Food Writing in America 2023.
Chin recently completed work on a short documentary on photographer, Corky Lee. The film, “Dear Corky” premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film Festival in May 2022.
A Message from Curtis
This “vivid, moving, funny, and heartfelt” memoir tells the story of Curtis Chin’s time growing up as a gay Chinese American kid in 1980’s Detroit
-Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
Nineteen eighties Detroit was a volatile place to live, but above the fray stood a safe Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, where anyone—from the city’s first Black mayor to the local drag queens, from a big-time Hollywood star to elderly Jewish couples—could sit down for a warm, home-cooked meal. Here was where, beneath a bright-red awning and surrounded by his multigenerational family, filmmaker and activist Curtis Chin came of age; where he learned to embrace his identity as a gay ABC, or American-born Chinese; where he navigated the divided city’s spiraling misfortunes; and where—between helpings of almond boneless chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and some of his own, less-savory culinary concoctions—he realized just how much he had to offer to the world, to his beloved family, and to himself.
Served up by the co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and structured around the very menu that graced the tables of Chung’s, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant is both a memoir and a step inside one boy’s childhood oasis, scoot into a vinyl booth, and grow up with him—and perhaps even share something off the secret menu.
-Goodreads’s New and Upcoming Books to Discover This Pride Month
I hope you will join me on October 17th at 7:00 PM at the Strand Book Store. I look forward to meeting everyone and answering any questions you have. You can also post questions in the comments below. I can confirm that a few members of The Chinese Quest will be there!! I’m excited to meet them!