Acclaimed author Julie Otsuka speaks at Wheelock College

On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, Wheelock College continued its unwavering commitment to social justice through its 2013 Convocation Ceremony to launch the academic year.  Acclaimed author Julie Otsuka delivered the keynote address and stimulated community-wide discussion around the Japanese-American WWII internment camps from her novel “When the Emperor Was Divine.” Otsuka told students that they should not be afraid to fail, noting that she abandoned her first passion, painting, after years of struggling unsuccessfully to transfer the pictures in her head onto canvas. When she turned to writing, she found that her words usually flowed if she began by conjuring an image. For example, the first chapter of “When the Emperor Was Divine” centers opens with a woman staring at an official notice posted on the wall of a Woolworth’s.

Author Julie Otsuka delivered the keynote address at Wheelock College’s 2013 Convocation Ceremony

Author Julie Otsuka delivered the keynote address at Wheelock College’s 2013 Convocation Ceremony

Otsuka’s debut novel, “When the Emperor Was Divine,” was selected as Wheelock’s summer reading book, which was distributed to the incoming class of first-year students and the senior class. This year, Wheelock also launched its First Annual Senior Symposium Luncheon with the senior class and guest author. Otsuka lead a conversation with seniors on “The Power of Healing through Story.”

For more information, please visit wheelock.edu/convocation-2013

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