Larry Smith searched the country far and wide to research his latest book, "Fresh off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America."
Part of Smith's Six-Word Memoir Series, participants expressed their experiences in just a limited number of syllables.
Smith will share those stories and discuss the book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Stauf's Coffee Roasters, 627 S. Third St.
The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to a video, readings and back stories by Columbus contributors, Smith will open the floor to audience members, who will be able to recite their own six words on the subject.
Certainly, new immigrants played a part in the book's development, Smith said.
There were famous contributors, such as Jeremy Lin, a point guard for the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
Lin wrote, "Abandoned the piano for a basketball."
Some were students such as Amy Lee who said, "Limited English vocabulary, so dad improvised."
And some were local, such as, "The simple Australian life turned supersize," penned by Jasmine Grace.
Smith, 49, talked to the Al Shahal family, who immigrated from Beirut, Lebanon, to Columbus and founded several businesses, including a small chain of restaurants called the A&R Creative group.
And, yes, the release comes at a time when illegal immigrants and refugees are at the fore of American politics, he said.
Yet, other than the original native-born Americans, everyone is an immigrant, so everyone, in effect, has a story to tell, Smith said.
"This is for almost all of America," he said.
That includes his late grandfather, Morris "Smitty" Smith, who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1914.
He would become a pharmacist and co-found Smith Bros. Pharmacy, along with his brother, Sam, in New Jersey.
Morris Smith was a modest man, his grandson said, and demurred when asked about his past, thinking it was of little interest to people.
"I tell that story because everyone's story is interesting," said Smith, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and husband of Piper Kerman, author of "Orange is My New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison," which served as the inspiration for the show "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix.
The couple now lives in Victorian Village.
The Book Loft is sponsoring Smith's visit, but is holding the event at Stauf's because there's more room, said Glen Welch, sales manager with the bookstore .
"Fresh off the Boat" retails for $15.99 at Book Loft.
Half of the proceeds from sales of "Fresh off the Boat" and other books written by Smith will go toward Community Refugee and Immigration Services of Ohio.
"It's topical and important," Welch said of Smith's recent release.