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
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.
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.