Friday, October 20, 2023 – 7:00 PM

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of Far from the Rooftop of the World with author Amy Yee, in conversation with Neil Swidey and Ellen Barry.

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Far from the Rooftop of the World: Travels Among Tibetan Refugees on Four Continents

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In 2008, the Chinese government cracked down on protests throughout Tibet, and journalist Amy Yee found herself covering a press conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, his exile home in India. She never imagined a personal encounter with the spiritual leader would spark a global, fourteen-year journey to spotlight the stories of Tibetans in exile. As she documents how Tibetans live between worlds, Yee comes to know ordinary but extraordinary people like Topden, a monk and unlikely veterinary assistant; Norbu, a chef and political refugee; and Deckyi and Dhondup, a couple forced to leave their middle-class lives in Lhasa. Yee follows them to other parts of India and across oceans and four continents where they forge new lives while sustaining Tibetan identity and culture.

Weaving a sweeping travel narrative with intimate on-the-ground reportage, Far from the Rooftop of the World tells these stories and others against the backdrop of milestones and events in Tibet’s recent history – many memorable, too many tragic. The resulting portrait illuminates the humanity, strength, and perseverance of a people whose homeland is in crisis.

Amy Yee is an award-winning journalist, most recently for Bloomberg/CityLab and was a Financial Times reporter in New York and India where she lived for seven years. She has also written for the New York TimesWall Street JournalThe EconomistNPR, and many media outlets. Amy has won the United Nations Correspondents Association award three times; South Asian Journalists Association awards four times; first place from Association of Healthcare Journalists for reporting about reducing child deaths in Bangladesh and India.  In 2023 she won Asian American Journalists Association’s award for political reporting about protecting voting rights of Asian American voters, and a Society of Professional Journalists award for racial equity reporting. Amy has had four Notable Essays in the Best American Essays. She has reported from 20+ countries, mostly in Africa and South Asia, as a solo freelancer.

Moderator Neil Swidey is a bestselling author who is a professor of the practice director of the Journalism Program at Brandeis University and editor-at-large of The Boston Globe Magazine. His most recent book, Trapped Under the Sea, was named one of the best books of the year by Booklist and Amazon. His first book, The Assist, was named one of the year’s best by The Washington Post. His work has been featured in the Best American Science Writing, the Best American Crime Writing, and the Best American Political Writing.

Moderator Ellen Barry covers mental health for The New York Times. She was previously the paper’s London-based chief international correspondent the bureau chief in New Delhi and Moscow, and a reporter for the Boston Globe.


This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be live-streamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!