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Dickson Lam on growing up in the projects and overcoming trauma

Lisa Keating
Dickson Lam

In his memoir "Paper Sons," award-winning author Dickson Lam takes readers to the North Beach projects of San Francisco, where he grew up in the early 90s.

Dickson’s story follows his transformation from a teenage graffiti tagger to a high school teacher. In his writing process, he confronted the abuse that took place in his home at the hands of his estranged father. 

"No one has the same exact life as you, but there are parts of it that a lot of people can relate to."

You can hear Dickson Lam speak this Saturday at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. 


Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.