Alta Asks Live: Bonnie Tsui

Why We Swim author Bonnie Tsui joined Alta Asks Live and Heather Scott Partington to talk about her new book, her passion for the water, and how she's passing time during a pandemic.

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Why We Swim author Bonnie Tsui joined Alta Asks Live and Heather Scott Partington to talk about her new book, her passion for the water, and how she’s passing time during a pandemic.

Buy the book: Why We Swim

Read Alta Asks: Talking with Bonnie Tsui.

About the book and the author

Why We Swim is propelled by stories of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in Saddam Hussein’s palace pool, modern-day Japanese samurai swimmers, and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survives a wintry six-hour swim after a shipwreck. New York Times contributor Bonnie Tsui, a swimmer herself, dives into the deep, from the San Francisco Bay to the South China Sea, investigating what about water—despite its dangers—seduces us and why we come back to it again and again.

Bonnie Tsui lives, swims, and surfs in the Bay Area. A longtime contributor to the New York Times and California Sunday Magazine, she has been the recipient of the Jane Rainie Opel ’50 Young Alumna Award from Harvard University, the Lowell Thomas gold award, and a National Press Foundation fellowship. Her last book, American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods, won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best of 2009 Notable Bay Area Books selection. Bonnie has written two stories for Alta, Fighting Fire from Above and Safe Spaces Available for California’s Homeless.

View the Alta Asks Live archive.

About the moderator

Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She is the winner of an emerging critic fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle and the critic in residence for UC Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Review of Books among other publications. She lives in Elk Grove, California, with her husband and two kids.

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