Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Viet Thanh Nguyen, “The Committed” Book Event with Luis Alberto Urrea

Viet Thanh Nguyen, one of America’s most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed (Grove Press) follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. Traumatized by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, Man, and struggling to assimilate into French culture, the Sympathizer finds Paris both seductive and disturbing. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals whom he meets at dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese “aunt,” he finds stimulation for his mind but also customers for his narcotic merchandise. But the new life he is making has perils he has not foreseen, whether the self-torture of addiction, the authoritarianism of a state locked in a colonial mindset, or the seeming paradox of how to reunite his two closest friends whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition. The Sympathizer will need all his wits, resourcefulness, and moral flexibility if he is to prevail.

“Call The Committed many things. A white hot literary thriller disguised as a searing novel of ideas. An unflinching look at redemption and damnation. An unblinking examination of the dangers of belief, and the need to believe. A sequel that goes toe to toe with the original then surpasses it. A masterwork.”—Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the author of The Sympathizer, which was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction alongside seven other prizes. He is also the author of the short story collection The Refugees, the nonfiction book Nothing Ever Dies, a finalist for the National Book Award, and is the editor of an anthology of refugee writing, The Displaced. He is the Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. He last visited Elliott Bay last year with his son Ellison Tai Duong Nguyen, for a wonderful and well attended event with their children’s picture book, Chicken of the Sea.

Luis Alberto Urrea is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and the best-selling author of 18 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He’s been honored with a 2019 Pushcart Prize, an American Academy of Arts & Letters award and an Edgar Award. His most recent book is The House of Broken Angels, a NYTimes Notable Book of the year, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recently acquired by the Hulu network for a series. His novel Into the Beautiful North is a selection of the NEA Big Reads program. He is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. His books include The House of Broken Angels (Back Bay Books).



Mar 15 2021
Event ended


6:00 pm




Online Event