Bonnie Tsui is an American author and journalist of Hong Kong descent. She was born in New York, New York, graduated from Harvard University, and currently lives in San Francisco. She grew up a competitive swimmer. Her book American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods was published by Simon & Schuster’s Free Press in 2009 and won the 2009-2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.
The Los Angeles Times said it “explored their class struggles, rivalries, customs, and dialects,” of the cities’ Chinatowns. Tsui also contributes essays and cultural commentary to well-known American magazines, including The New York Times and California Sunday.
Her accolades include the 2019 National Press Foundation Fellowship and the Jane Rainie Opel Young Alumna Award at Harvard University. In 2020, she published a memoir, Why We Swim, with Algonquin Books, which delves into the history of swimming. The New York Times called it an enthusiastic and thoughtful work.
Her third book, Sarah & the Big Wave, about big-wave women surfers, will be published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers in spring 2021. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto.
A longtime contributor to The New York Times, Bonnie has also performed numerous times at Pop-Up Magazine and other live storytelling events. She helped to launch F&B: Voices from the Kitchen, a storytelling project from La Cocina that shares stories from cooks and kitchens that are less often heard. She also appeared as a talking head in the documentary The Search for General Tso, to explain the curiously foreign-yet-familiar quality of Chinese-American food and was featured in the History Channel series “America: Promised Land.”
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