The Celestials is a historical novel about a group of 75 Chinese factory workers who arrived in North Adams, Massachusetts in 1870 to break a strike at the Sampson Shoe Factory. Except for the foreman, they didn’t speak English. They didn’t know they were strikebreakers. They stayed for ten years. Join us for a lively reading and discussion with Karen Shepard about the fact, fiction and writing process behind her historical novel The Celestials.
Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City. She is the author of four novels: An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, Don’t I Know You?, and The Celestials. Her short fiction has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, and Ploughshares, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in More, Self, USA Today, and the Boston Globe, among others. She teaches writing and literature at Williams College in Williamstown, where she lives with her husband, novelist Jim Shepard, and their three children.