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Fairest--Exploding Trans and Immigrant Memoir Conventions--A Conversation with Meredith Talusan and Elda Rotor

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes author Meredith Talusan and her editor, Elda Rotor, who is Vice President and Publisher for Penguin Classics, to discuss Talusan's long-anticipated memoir, Fairest. Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a "sun child" from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity. As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate through the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community. She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender. Talusan realized she did not want to be confined to a prescribed role as a man, and transitioned to become a woman, despite the risk of losing a man she deeply loved. Throughout her journey, Talusan shares poignant and powerful episodes of desirability and love that will remind readers of works such as Call Me By Your Name and Giovanni's Room. Her evocative reflections will shift our own perceptions of love, identity, gender, and the fairness of life.

This digital event will take place on Crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Click here to register. 

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

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About Meredith Talusan:

Meredith Talusan is an award-winning author and journalist who is the founding executive editor of them.,Condé Nast's LGBTQ+ digital platform, where she is now a contributing editor. She has contributed to other books, including the New York Times bestseller Not That Bad (edited by Roxane Gay), Nasty Women, and Burn It Down. She writes frequently for The New York TimesThe Guardian, The AtlanticWIREDCondé Nast Traveller, and many other publications. She lives in the Western Catskills with her spouse and rescue mutt.

About Elda Rotor: 

Elda Rotor is Vice President and Publisher for Penguin Classics. She oversees the U.S. editorial program including the works of John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Shirley Jackson, William Golding, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, and the Pelican Shakespeare series. She has created and edited several series including the new Penguin Vitae hardcover series featuring the work of Audre Lorde and others, and the forthcoming Penguin Liberty series about constitutional rights. She is the editor for Fairest by Meredith Talusan published by Viking and Legendary Children by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez published by Penguin Books. Elda is a board member for the Academy of American Poets and Kundiman, a national organization dedicated to Asian American creative writing.

Event address: 
Fairest: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525561309
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - May 26th, 2020

"Talusan sails past the conventions of trans and immigrant memoirs." --The New York Times Book Review

"A ball of light hurled into the dark undertow of migration and survival." --Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous