On October 28, Social Science Matrix hosted this presentation by Viet Thanh Nguyen, an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies program whose novel, The Sympathizer, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In this talk, entitled “Beyond Victims and Voices: On Writing as a Radical Act,” Nguyen discusses what he intends to achieve with his writing, and explains how, in the course of his writing process, he had to learn how to write “fiction like criticism and criticism like fiction…because this, for me as a writer and a scholar, is where the radical act of writing can emerge.”
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Nguyen has won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and an associate professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, at the University of Southern California. His next book is a short story collection, The Refugees, forthcoming in February 2017 from Grove Press.