Almost a decade since the Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel The Sympathizer was published, we revisit developing conversations around the continuing global refugee crisis with acclaimed author Viet Thanh Nguyen. As displaced individuals contend with the physical perils of war, we consider a different conflict that has emerged within the global imaginary: how has storytelling been used by some to build a new sense of community, while being leveraged by others to efface them? With time and memory dislocated, how do narratives have the potential to be wielded as both refuge and subterfuge?
This programme is part of the Spotlight on Asian-American Authors and is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s writing is bold and fiercely honest. His remarkable debut novel, The Sympathizer, won the Pulitzer Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The Committed, the long-awaited follow-up to The Sympathizer, was published in 2021 and has been called “a masterwork.” Viet was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant".
He teaches at the University of Southern California and is a cultural critic-at-large for The Los Angeles Times.
Jason Wee is an artist and a writer. Recent projects include the history of publishing ‘undesirable literatures’ in Malaya (for the 2022 Kochi-Muziris Biennale). He runs Grey Projects, an artists’ library and residency. He is a 2023-27 Asymmetry Art Foundation PhD Fellow.
He has four poetry collections, including An Epic of Durable Departures, a Singapore Literature Prize 2020 finalist, and the Gaudy Boy Poetry Prize finalist In Short, Future Now (Sternberg Press, 2020).