Sharon A. Suh with E.J. Koh
A year ago, Seattle poet and writer E.J. Koh’s exquisite memoir of what transpired between her mother (mostly her mother in South Korea while she and her brother, as teenagers, were on their own here), The Magical Language of Others, was published to much justifiable acclaim. The paperback, from Tin House, has just been released. Receiving a little less attention at the outset, first because of a publisher which does excellent books, but doesn’t always get word on them out to the outer precincts, and then because the pandemic really put the brakes to so many things happening, was another powerful autobiographical story - which tonight we are pleased to help celebrate. Seattle University professor of Theology and Religious Studies Sharon Suh, joined this evening by EJ Koh in conversation, will discuss her own indelibly drawn account, Occupy This Body: A Buddhist Memoir (Sumeru Books). A daughter of a suburban, Long Island Korean immigrant mother, who herself had eating disorders, Sharon Suh had to overcome all manner of forced-feeding, emotional neglect, and body image issues to come to terms with how to be a healthier, more fully realized human being. Taking up the study and practice of Buddhism would come to play a significant part.
“Occupy This Body is a must-read work for the remarkable story of its author Sharon Suh, for what it tells us about critical engagement with Buddhist tradition – its history and practices, and for so many people – women and men – who are faced with the challenges of life with food and body image as core themes of their existence. I could not put this book down. This is a story of the courage to be the artist of one's own life and to share it with others on the path, a story of skillful means that goes outside the box of Buddhist ‘tradition.’” - Mark Unno.