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Mission Creek Preview: Michelle Zauner

For those who are well-versed in alternative music, Michelle Zauner’s name will at the very least ring a bell. More likely, hearing it will elicit an emphatic fan response. The musician is the lead singer of indie staple Japanese Breakfast, the beloved Philadelphia-based band. Alas, the rocker is not coming to Mission Creek with her band. She is coming as part of a long-awaited book tour for her memoir “Crying in H Mart”, to be the literature headliner for the festival.

Zauner will read from “Crying in H Mart”, her heartfelt and humorous debut memoir about family, food, grief, love, and growing up Korean American in Eugene, Oregon. The novel originated from an essay published in The New Yorker in 2018. Zauner later accepted a book deal with Knopf to publish her debut in 2021. Since its release, critics and audiences alike have praised the book for its compelling story and beautiful prose.

Image via The Berkshire Edge.

Those who know Zauner’s name only from Japanese Breakfast will still find enjoyment in hearing her read from “Crying in H Mart”. The artist’s lyrical prowess clearly translates into the literature format. Fans of the music are in luck. The book describes the early days of Zauner’s music career in college, her previous band Little Big League, and later the beginnings of Japanese Breakfast. But the memoir’s central focus is Zauner’s late mother, her struggle with cancer, and grieving her loss. Though the stories are gut-wrenching, fans of the music will recognize events that inspired some of her lyrics (especially from earlier albums, “Psychopomp” and “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”).

Most recently, MGM’s Orion Pictures announced a film adaptation of Crying in H Mart. Zauner, of course, wrote the screenplay, with British actor Will Sharpe set to direct the film. Previously, Zauner’s latest musical project was Japanese Breakfast’s 2021 album Jubilee. The Recording Academy recognized the record with nominations for the Best Alternative Album and Best New Artist.

Video via TODAY on YouTube.

Zauner is coming to Hancher Auditorium as a part of “an evening of music and literature” to read excerpts from her memoir. Bryn Lovitt will moderate an interview and Q&A with Zauner. After Michelle Zauner’s book reading, there will be music performances from Black Belt Eagle Scout and Cat Power. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6th. Full passes to the festival are available here as well as single day tickets.