Author bio

Michelle Kuo

Michelle Kuo - book author

Michelle Kuo is the author of the memoir READING WITH PATRICK, a story of race, inequality, and the transformative power of literature. The book was a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Reading Women Award, and shortlisted for Goddard Riverside Stephen Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. It has been honored as a community reads pick at programs across the United States, including Washtenaw Reads, University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, and Yale Prison Education Initiative.

Michelle has taught English at an alternative school in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

After graduating from Harvard Law, she became an immigrants’ rights lawyer at Centro Legal de la Raza, a nonprofit in Oakland, California. She advocated for tenants facing evictions, workers stiffed out of their wages, and families facing deportation.

Michelle is a passionate advocate of prison education and criminal justice, and has volunteered at the Prison University Project at San Quentin Prison.

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Michelle grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

She is currently an assistant professor at the American University of Paris in the History, Law, and Society program. She has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Point, Public Books, and other publications.

As Pulitzer Prize-winning James Forman Jr. and Arthur Evenchik write in The Atlantic, "Impassioned writing and hard-earned wisdom set her book apart ... In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading With Patrick.”

Michelle Kuo is the author of books: Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, Otto Piene: Lichtballett, The New Decor


Author books

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Title
Description
01
Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening.

Convinced she can make a difference in the lives of her teenaged students, Michelle Kuo puts her heart into her work, using quiet reading time and guided writing to foster a sense of self in students left behind by a broken school system. Though Michelle loses some students to truancy and even gun violence, she is inspired by some such as Patrick. Fifteen and in the eight grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle's exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle feels pressure from her parents and the draw of opportunities outside the Delta and leaves Arkansas to attend law school.

Then, on the eve of her law-school graduation, Michelle learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder. Feeling that she left the Delta prematurely and determined to fix her mistake, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick's education — even as he sits in a jail cell awaiting trial. Every day for the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and works of history. Little by little, Patrick grows into a confident, expressive writer and a dedicated reader galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, W.S. Merwin, and others. In her time reading with Patrick, Michelle is herself transformed, contending with the legacy of racism and the questions of what constitutes a "good" life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects.

Reading with Patrick is an inspirational story of friendship, a coming-of-age story of both a young teacher and a student, a resonant meditation on education, race, and justice in the rural South, and a love letter to literature and its power to transcend social barriers.
02
A leading figure in multimedia and technology-based art, Otto Piene (born 1928) was a founder of the influential Dusseldorf-based Group Zero in the late 1950s. This publication highlights the artist's ongoing exploration of light as an artistic and communicative medium, from his original Lichtballett (light ballet) performances through their development into mechanized kinetic sculptural environments.
03
The New Decor gathers a range of contemporary artists whose work takes the vocabulary of interior design as a point of departure. Reconceptualizing the decoration of our everyday environments through sculpture and installation, these artists explore, and sometimes dismantle, the current attitudes and the social furniture that reveal the public dimensions of our private worlds. In French the word -decor- refers to stage and film sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this volume occupy an arena midway between theater and everyday life. Remapping our relationships to a variety of interior spaces, the artists contributing to this volume are Monica Bonvicini, Martin Boyce, Tom Burr, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Los Carpinteros, Jimmie Durham, Elmgreen & Dragset, Urs Fischer, Gelitin, Fabrice Gygi, Mona Hatoum, Diango Hernandez, Yuichi Higashionna, Jim Lambie, Lee Bul, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Manfred Pernice, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, Jin Shi, Roman Signer, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Rosemarie Trockel, Tatiana Trouve, Haegue Yang, Nicole Wermers and Franz West.