Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his bestselling novel The Sympathizer, hosts an evening featuring Vietnamese writers of the diaspora. Representing a variety of genres—fiction, poetry, comics, memoir, children’s literature—these writers are currently fellows at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.
Thi Bui (Berkeley, California), Nam Le (Sydney), Anna Moi (Paris), Hoa Nguyen (Toronto), Nguyen Phan Que Mai (Jakarta), Aimee Phan (Berkeley, California), Bao Phi (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Dao Strom (Portland, Oregon), and Monique Truong (New York) will read excerpts from new work and hold a roundtable discussion sharing their perspectives on the complexities surrounding refugees and immigrants of color. The writers will be part of the upcoming literary anthology Dialogues Across Borders: War and Race for Vietnamese Writers of the Diaspora.
Anne Sibley O’Brien, author of I’m New Here and the co-founder of the “I’m Your Neighbor Books” project, which promotes the use of children’s literature featuring new arrival cultures, leads a discussion about how to create welcoming spaces for new arrival students in the classroom and library, thereby enriching the entire community. Panelists include retired Jefferson Parish school librarian and current library consultant Terry Young, author Uma Krishnaswami, author Bao Phi, and illustraor Thi Bui, Caldecott Honor recipient for A DIFFERENT POND. These panelists are dedicated contributors to children's literature who can speak to serving immigrant students. Through children’s literature, students and families of all backgrounds can create welcoming spaces and fascinating learning experiences. This panel discussion will unpack the immigrant experience in the classroom and library by examining language and culture as both barrier and opportunity, and ways teachers, librarians, and fellow students can help new arrivals not only fit in, but thrive and become teachers themselves.
Featured panelists include author Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do) and famed audiobook narrator, Scott Brick (Dead Wake), Kathleen Rooney (Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk), Seanan McGuire (Down Among the Sticks and Bones) and Alyssa Cole (An Extraordinary Union). Authors will discuss their works and the craft of writing and narrating as well as sign books immediately following the event.
Join Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do), and Barroux, the illustrator and co-creator of Alpha: Abidjan to Paris with author Bessora, as they discuss their critically acclaimed graphic novels. What are the human stories behind the headlines of the refugee crisis? Focusing on issues of immigration and displacement, both works are timely masterpieces that explore the importance of identity and the meaning of home, and showcase how essential the graphic novel medium is in opening up the narrative truths of individuals caught in the the current political climate.
5:15-7:00 PM Talk and book signing
7:00-9:00 PM Gala
I'm honored that The Best We Could Do is among the finalists in Autobiography, and will be doing my best to not stutter while reading in the presence of so much talent.