Roxane Gay and Viet Thanh Nguyen at St. Paul’s Church

Viet Thanh Nguyen (author of The Refugees) and Roxane Gay (author of Difficult Women) discuss their latest books for an event with Politics & Prose Bookstore.


If Roxane Gay’s strong-willed female characters are “difficult,” it’s because they want things to “make sense” but are involved in relationships that don’t. They’ve had parents who walked out. They’ve lost children. They’ve been kidnapped and abused. They have sisters they love more than their spouses. One is even made of glass, but she only seems to be transparent and fragile. In her new collection of stories, Gay, author of the novel An Untamed State and the powerhouse Bad Feminist essays, continues her uncompromising look at issues of race, class, and gender.

Viet Thanh Nguyen won a host of awards, including the Pulitzer, for his first novel, The Sympathizer. In his second work of fiction he frames his exploration of home, exile, and memory in eight well-crafted stories, using the form to powerful effect as he dramatizes various types of culture shock, from the surprises of arriving in a new place to the unexpected strangeness of returning to what once was familiar. Also a noted academic, Nguyen teaches English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California and has written books on Asian American cultural identity and on the legacy of the Vietnam War.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.’s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at

Category: Interviews, Videos




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