Alta Asks Live: Bonnie Tsui - Why We Swim (Zoom Livestream)

Monday, March 30, 2020 - 12:30pm

Monday, March 30, 12:30pm • Zoom Livestream Event

Why We Swim author Bonnie Tsui will join Alta contributor Heather Scott Partington for a discussion on why we take to the water, how this new book came together, and what it’s like launching a new title in the middle of a global crisis • Free livestream link available here

We swim in freezing Arctic waters and piranha-infested rivers to test our limits. We swim for pleasure, for exercise, for healing. But humans, unlike other animals that are drawn to water, are not natural-born swimmers. We must be taught. Our evolutionary ancestors learned for survival; now, in the twenty-first century, swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world.

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 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.

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. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She lives in Elk Grove, California, with her husband and two kids.

Why We Swim Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616207861
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - April 14th, 2020

A Best Book of the Season: BuzzFeed * Bustle San Francisco Chronicle

“A fascinating and beautifully written love letter to water.