Essays

John Kelly’s Ancestors Wouldn’t Have Fit In Either

Viet Thanh Nguyen reflects on John Kelly’s words about undocumented immigrants coming from south of the border. Originally published by The New York Times. I had forgotten that memory of my mother, sitting by herself, reading aloud from a church newsletter. It was the only way she could read, having had only a grade school education…. (read more)


Ripping children from parents will shatter America’s soul

Viet Thanh Nguyen reflects on the Attorney General’s statement of intent to separate children from undocumented parents at the U.S. border. Originally published by The…(read more)

The blackface incidents at Cal Poly show why we need more education about racism

Viet Thanh Nguyen reflects on the blackface incidents at Cal Poly in this piece originally published by the Los Angeles Times. For the second time in a…(read more)

CANON FODDER

Originally published in The Washington Post. Books by immigrants, foreigners and minorities don’t diminish the ‘classic’ curriculum. They enhance it. In 1992, as a…(read more)

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen on the struggles of being a refugee in America

David Canfield of Entertainment Weekly offers an exclusive excerpt of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s introduction to The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, to be released on April…(read more)

Learning to Listen from My Son

Originally published in the New York Times. LOS ANGELES — A bathroom at 4:45 a.m. is quiet. I try to wake at this time, three…(read more)

The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange

This New York Times article, co-authored with Richard Hughes, confronts the lack of recognition and reparations for the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. Phan Thanh…(read more)

The Great Vietnam War Novel Was Not Written by an American

Viet Thanh Nguyen writes on the many Vietnamese-American works ignored by both the American and Vietnamese mainstream. This article was originally published by the…(read more)

In Praise of Doubt and Uselessness

The following article by Viet Thanh Nguyen was originally published by the Los Angeles Times. Almost exactly 20 years ago, I arrived in Los…(read more)

Vietnamese and Vietnamese American Lit: A Primer from Viet Thanh Nguyen

“Sometimes people have said that I give voice to the voiceless Vietnamese. If you know anything about Vietnamese people, you know they are not…(read more)

Viet Thanh Nguyen on Being a Refugee, an American — and a Human Being

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Vietnam war refugee reflects on American identity. The following article was originally published in the Financial Times. I am…(read more)

Martin Luther King, Jr., on Vietnam—and Today

Martin Luther King, Jr., is best known for his speech “I Have a Dream.” Relatively few people know of his speech “Beyond Vietnam,” delivered…(read more)

Trump Is a Great Storyteller. We Need to Be Better.

Viet published an op-ed in the New York Times about storytelling in the age of Trump. Here is the unedited, 1400-word version. The link…(read more)

Kissinger: The View From Vietnam

One of the saddest ironies of my own history is that the United States might have achieved its goals in Southeast Asia without ever…(read more)

Viet Thanh Nguyen on the Democrats’ Failure and Our Future

This essay by Viet Thanh Nguyen was originally published by the Los Angeles Times. Donald Trump has triumphed, an accomplishment that many, except his…(read more)

The End of the Empire: On Donald Trump’s Victory

This commentary originally appeared in The New York Times on November 9, 2016. Worst-case scenario in the next four years: fascism, a wall, mass…(read more)