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Clemson Literary Festival to celebrate 10 years with another Pulitzer-winner

By Ken Scar

For the sixth consecutive year, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author will visit Clemson to participate in the Clemson Literary Festival.

This year, 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of “The Sympathizer” and “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War,” will headline the 10th annual Literary Festival March 29-April 1.

Nguyen has also won 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. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Nationally recognized authors of fiction and poetry Camille Rankine, Brando Skyhorse, Paul Guest, Wendy Xu and Shobha Rao also will read their works and serve on panels and in roundtable discussions during the festival. Read more

Source: Newsstand.clemson.edu


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Book review: Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees tells eight tales of Vietnamese migrants

By Malcolm Forbes

There is a section in Ways of Escape where Graham Greene casts back to the early 1950s and discusses his love affair with Indochina in general and Vietnam in particular. He singles out Saigon’s opium fumeries, gambling houses and elegant girls, and the overall “feeling of exhilaration which a measure of danger brings to the visitor with a return ticket”.

That measure of danger would soon intensify, convulsing the country and displacing many of its people. In The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s first collection of short stories and follow-up to his 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel The Sympathizer, the focus is not on visitors to Vietnam with return tickets but Vietnamese migrants who have fled war on a one-way trip to a better future in the United States.

In these times of looking inward and shutting out, of breaking down bridges and building walls, Nguyen’s eight stark and incisive tales provide valuable, necessary insight into the pain and upheaval of exchanging a homeland for an adopted other.
Nguyen – who was born in Vietnam and raised in the US – opens the proceedings with one his strongest stories. Black-Eyed Women introduces us to a ghostwriter who looks back on her youth in Vietnam, “a haunted country”, and is then visited by the ghost of her brother, who died decades ago on the fishing boat which carried her to her current safe haven. Read more
Source: The National

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Viet Thanh Nguyen wins Dayton peace prize for The Sympathizer


The Vietnamese-American writer Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Sympathizer has won the Dayton literary peace prize, a unique award that “celebrates the power of literature to promote peace, social justice and global understanding”.

Nguyen’s novel, winner of the Pulitzer this spring, looks at the legacy of the Vietnam war through the story of a double agent. The organisers of the Dayton prize, which is worth $10,000 (£8,000) and was inspired by the Dayton peace accords that ended the war in Bosnia in 1995, called it a “profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut … both gripping spy yarn and astute exploration of extreme politics”. Read more

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Viet Thanh Nguyen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for ‘The Sympathizer’

Viet Thanh Nguyen took the Pulitzer Prize in fiction Monday for his debut novel, “The Sympathizer,” published by Grove Press. Nguyen, a professor at the USC, is one of the L.A. Times’ 10 critics at large.

“Thanks for all your good wishes,” Nguyen wrote on Facebook. “I double checked with real people in my publisher’s office…and they say that The Sympathizer really did win the Pulitzer Prize. Unless this is some cosmic virtual reality trThe Sympathizerick. I’m stunned.”

Reached by phone in Boston, where he would be giving a reading later Monday night, Nguyen expressed surprise and delight. He had no plans to break out the champagne until after his reading was concluded.

The Pulitzer committee lauded “The Sympathizer” as “a layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a ‘man of two minds’ — and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.”

Nguyen, who lives in Los Angeles, was born in Vietnam; his family came to the U.S. as refugees in 1975. “The Sympathizer,” which follows a wickedly smart double-agent for South Vietnam, begins at the end of the Vietnam War, moves to Southern California and eventually winds up on a film set not unlike “Apocalypse Now.” Part thriller, part political satire, “The Sympathizer” is sharp-edged fiction.