Creative Risks: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen & Thrity Umrigar
In this discussion between Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and best-selling author Thrity Umrigar, we will explore the risks of creativity and creation, whether it is experimenting with a new genre or form, engaging personal or political material, fighting to dismantle systems of oppression, or co-writing a children’s book with your son. From Viet Thanh Nguyen’s most recent work, The Committed, to Thrity Umrigar’s forthcoming novel Honor, to both authors’ published children’s books, we will explore the intersections of their writing and learn why creativity is a risk we should take.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, 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 (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is also the author of the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees. Most recently he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. He is the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. His recent publication Chicken of the Sea is a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison. His newest book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer, was published in March 2021.
Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found, The Story Hour, Everybody’s Son and The Secrets Between Us. Her new novel, Honor, will be published in January 2022. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning, and the children’s books When I Carried You in My Belly, Sugar in Milk, and Binny’s Diwali. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is a Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
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