Feather in the Storm: A Childhood Lost in Chaos

Job #39457

Job Posting Details

Job # 39457 Feather in the Storm: A Childhood Lost in Chaos

Posted Date
Jul 21, 2011 @ 22:21
Respond By
Jul 26, 2011
Word Count
Age Range

Job Description

This recording will be made into an Audiobook for Audible.com/Amazon. Please send us an mp3 audition no longer than 5 minutes, following the attached script. ALSO, please note that we are looking for an ENGLISH speaker with a CHINESE accent. Thank you!


Feather in the Storm: A Childhood Lost in Chaos
By Emily Wu, Larry Engelmann

Estimated Length:
17.5 hours

Word Count:

Feather in the Storm, set in the city of Hefei and the remote Chinese countryside between 1958-1977, is the heartrending and devastating story of what it was like to grow up during the upheavals of China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Emily Wu, with Larry Engelmann (the author of Daughter of China), tells her story, from the point of view of a child--Emily, or Yimao, as she is called, is three as the book begins, and 17 by the end. We come to understand the Cultural Revolution more through Yimao's poignant, sometimes even humorous, stories rather than through historical fact. Each chapter is like a little short story with the most evocative and telling details. As her saga begins, Yimao's father, a distinguished professor and translator, has survived 3 1/2 years in a concentration camp, but he is considered an "ultra rightist," "a capitalist intellectual," "a class enemy," and "a cow demon" in need of "corrective education," and Yimao's family has therefore been designated a "black family," which will set them up for a future of relentless degradation and punishment. Through Yimao's eyes we feel the chaos and fear instilled by the Cultural Revolution as students form Red Guard units to begin "The Red Terror": late night mass rallies keep her family awake; their apartment is ransacked; her father, a professor at Anhui University, is forced to burn his books and to wear a dunce cap and a sign around his neck denouncing his crimes in front of Red Guards and thousands of their supporters and collect excrement from latrines for fertilizer. In Hefei, we learn of Yimao's own hardships--whether being molested by a Red Guard, attacked and bullied by other students at school who put dead rats and toads in her desk--but because she is so young, her voice is innocent, she is resilient and able to make light of much that was happening to her so what we read is fascinating, but rarely as grim as it should be. We see Yimao at 10 left on her own with her 4-year-old brother in Hefei at the Child Care Center as her parents join 2000 other adults in a 6-day march of 100 miles to the countryside to live among the peasants in a mud hut. Sadistic caretakers, the sight of her best friend's mother's suicide as she is washing her brother's laundry in a partially frozen lake, and a grave illness are all part of what befalls her. Finally the family is reunited but in a remote peasant village under a corrupt and drunken supervisor. After graduating from high school, Yimao is sent to teach in a village in an isolated mountainous area but finally sees a great change in her life as she is accepted at Anhui Teachers College. This powerful story of a child caught up in an historical upheaval whose forces are beyond her control has a universal appeal as it sweeps you up with its profound and passionate emotions.

Requires a narrator who can perform:
Bios & Memoirs
Character Age:
Vocal Style:

Comments from the Rights Holder:
Emily Wu's short stories have appeared in Chinese and American newspapers and magazines and in an anthology of poetry and prose. She came to the U.S. in 1981 and has a BA in English from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, and an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Ms. Wu lives with her two children, Erik and Jamine, in Cupertino, California.

Larry Engelmann is the author of five nonfiction books, including The Goddess and the American Girl, Tears Before the Rain, Daughter of China, Intemperance, and They Said That. Daughter of China has been translated into seven languages. The Goddess and the American Girl was selected by The New York Times as one of the notable Books of 1988. A section of Tears appears in the official program of Miss Saigon. Engelmann has written for Readers Digest, Playboy, American Heritage, Saturday Review, LIFE, Vietnam Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and Smithsonian. He has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air, on Good Morning, America, and on Nightline. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Michigan. He lives in San Jose, California, where he is senior professor of history at San Jose State University.

MEDIA: Emily Wu is known in the Chinese-American community and has been interviewed by such newspapers as The World Journal and the San Jose Mercury News, on radio--the Hong Kong-based Xingdao, FM 96.1--and on TV--Xin Tang Ren, which is broadcast globally.

Emily Wu is the daughter of Ningkun Wu, a well respected writer and translator--and when he was in China, a professor of English--who has translated Dreiser, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck; his English-language autobiography, A Single Tear (Atlantic Monthly, 1993), was translated into 6 languages and was a New York Times notable book of 1993.

Note from Voices.com: This job posting has been reviewed and approved by Voices.com staff. Voices.com recommends that you slate and name your audition file for this job posting to assist the client in selecting an appropriate candidate.

Note from Voices.com: Client is requesting clean dry read (no obvious background noise, etc.) Processing, editing and production will occur on client side. Please bid appropriately.


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