Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book talks with Michael Meyer—author of Last Days of Old Beijing, In Manchuria, and the forthcoming The Road to Sleeping Dragon—in Pittsburgh, October 10.

Author and University of Pittsburgh professor Michael Meyer will give two local book talks on October 10 to mark the release of his forthcoming book, The Road to Sleeping Dragon, to be released the same day. From 1:00 to 2:30 pm, he will speak and sign copies of his book at the University of Pittsburgh, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room (map). From 7:00 to 8:00 pm he will appear at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley (map).
In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan. Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use chopsticks, Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and, per a Communist dean’s orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by the country’s changes as he was. With humor and insight, Meyer puts readers in his novice shoes, winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country -- from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, and his future wife's Manchurian family, and into efforts to protect China's heritage at places like "Sleeping Dragon," the world's largest panda preserve.

In the last book of his China trilogy, Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater – if never complete – assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. Meyer will recount his 20-year journey via photographs, as well as talking about the challenges of reporting from China and how a freelance writer can fund and produce books that reach a wide audience.