Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Why I Teach

Opinion | Why I Teach – The New York Times Being a good teacher is hard. So is maintaining democracy. Our political leaders should take note. My employer, the University of Southern California, requires me to teach a general education course every year. Although I sometimes resent the obligation, most of the time I am […]

Close the Curtain on ‘Miss Saigon’

Opinion | Close the Curtain on ‘Miss Saigon’ – The New York Times Why is a musical that perpetuates a Western fantasy of Asians as small, weak and effeminate people still so popular? LOS ANGELES — “Miss Saigon” is revived and on tour again, playing in a theater near me. This is exciting news for […]

America, Say My Name

Viet Thanh Nguyen writes about his experiences with a Vietnamese name in America in this op-ed for New York Times. LOS ANGELES — What’s your name? Mine is Viet Thanh Nguyen, although I was born in Vietnam as Nguyen Thanh Viet. Whichever way you arrange my name, it is not a typical American name. Growing […]

Why We Struggle to Say ‘I Love You’

Viet Thanh Nguyen writes about the Asian-American family dynamic and struggles in this New York Times Opinions article. For many Asian-Americans, the phrase belongs to the wonderful world of white people we see in the movies and on television. Is it true that Asian-Americans cannot say “I love you?” The striking title of the writer […]

Victims of War, and Now Victims of the Trump Administration

Viet Thanh Nguyen and Eric Tang discuss the deportation of Vietnamese refugees under the Trump administration in this Opinion piece for the New York Times.  What is an appropriate punishment for a crime? The plight of thousands of Vietnamese refugees convicted of crimes in the United States and now threatened with detention or deportation demands an answer […]

Wesley Yang and the Search for Asian-American Visibility

Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses Wesley Yang’s collection of essays, The Souls of Yellow Folk, for the New York Times Book Review.  THE SOULS OF YELLOW FOLK Essays By Wesley Yang 215 pp. W.W. Norton & Company. $24.95. My disappointment with Wesley Yang’s collection of essays, “The Souls of Yellow Folk,” stems from the difference between […]

Asian-Americans Need More Movies, Even Mediocre Ones

Viet Thanh Nguyen writes an Op-Ed for New York Times about narrative plenitude and Asian-American representation in Hollywood.  If you are Asian-American, you have most likely heard of a movie called “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on the popular novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan. If you are not Asian-American, maybe you are wondering […]

What I’ve learned from my 4-year-old

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 hours before my 4-year-old son does, so I can write, even in a hotel bathroom. I have not checked email, Twitter or Instagram, and last year I got off Facebook. I […]

The Awl: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen

An interview with Bryan Washington regarding refugee literature and American politics. Interview originally published on The Awl. This conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen took place a few days after he received a MacArthur  “genius grant”. As the author of a Pulitzer prize-winning novel (The Sympathizer), and a collection of short stories (The Refugees), as well as a nonfiction work chronicling narratives of […]

MacArthur Foundation Names 2017 ‘Genius’ Grant Winners

Image credits to Oriana Koren for The New York Times. The novelist and professor Viet Thanh Nguyen at his home in Los Angeles.

Originally written for the New York Times, the following is an excerpt about Viet Thanh Nguyen from Jennifer Schuessler’s New York Times article on the 2017 MacArthur Grant recipients. Mr. Nguyen, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Sympathizer,” said he wanted to use some of the money to hire an editor to […]

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 New York Times. In 1967, Le Ly Hayslip, then known as Phung Thi Le Ly, was a teenager living and working in Da Nang. A peasant girl who had survived war […]

Viet Thanh Nguyen Reveals How Writers’ Workshops Can Be Hostile

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s critique of American writers’ workshops for The New York Times. Literature and power cannot be separated. American literature is read around the world not only because of its inherent value, but because the rest of the world always reads the literature of empires. A new development is that the American way of […]

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 deportations, the end of Obamacare, a Trump brand on the White House and either a trade war or an actual war with China (since war is the easiest diversion from domestic […]

Our Vietnam War Never Ended

This article by Viet Thanh Nguyen was originally published in The New York Times on April 24, 2015.  A version of this op­ed appears in print on April 26, 2015, on page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: Our Vietnam War Never Ended. LOS ANGELES — THURSDAY, the last day of April, is […]