Xu Xi’s take on pigeonholing writers
Why is the nation state at all significant for who you are as a writer?: Guernica
I am a New York-Hong Kong writer with a published oeuvre of fiction and nonfiction that addresses issues of the Chinese family and diaspora, cross-cultural and inter-racial experiences (in particular, sexuality, especially transgressive), and contemporary transnational, cosmopolitan and international life. I write what I’ve lived, and still live, to solve what I don’t understand about my sliver of that mortal coil. In forty-plus years of writing and publishing, the pigeonholes that have housed the writer me include Asian, Asian-American, Chinese, Woman, Feminist, of Color, Transnational, International, Cosmopolitan, Hong Kong, New York. The newest slot, one I occupy for its comfortably feathered nest, is “Third Culture.”
Yet the one that has proven the most problematic of all is that of my “country of origin,” a literary pigeonhole problem rooted in the notion of the nation state.