RECORDING of Discussion with authors Kat Chow (SEEING GHOSTS) and Larissa Pham (Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy)

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For readers of Helen Macdonald and Elizabeth Alexander, an intimate and haunting portrait of grief and the search for meaning from a singular new talent as told through the prism of three generations of her Chinese American family.

Kat Chow has always been unusually fixated on death. She worried constantly about her parents dying—especially her mother. A vivacious and mischievous woman, Kat's mother made a morbid joke that would haunt her for years to come: when she died, she'd like to be stuffed and displayed in Kat's future apartment in order to always watch over her. 

After her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat, her sisters, and their father are plunged into a debilitating, lonely grief. With a distinct voice that is wry and heartfelt, Kat weaves together a story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America. Seeing Ghosts asks what it means to reclaim and tell your family’s story: Is writing an exorcism or is it its own form of preservation? The result is an extraordinary new contribution to the literature of the American family, and a provocative and transformative meditation on who we become facing loss.


Kat Chow is a writer and a journalist. She was a reporter at NPR, where she was a founding member of the Code Switch team. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and on RadioLab, among others. She’s one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s fourth chairs. She’s received a residency fellowship from the Millay Colony and was an inaugural recipient of the Yi Dae Up fellowship at the the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat.



LARISSA PHAM is an artist and writer in Brooklyn. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The Nation, the Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Bookforum, and elsewhere. She is the author of Fantasian, a novella, and the essay collection Pop Song.


Event date: 
Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
3321 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538716328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Please call to confirm stock for hot titles
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 24th, 2021

Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646220267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Please call to confirm stock for hot titles
Published: Catapult - May 4th, 2021