Pulitzer-Prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, "Refugees, Language, and the Meaning of 'America'"

Department: Humanities Center

Date and Time: February 3, 2022 | 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Event Location: Streaming via Zoom

Event Details

  |    |  

Please join us for a stirring and provocative evening of fiction, history and commentary with Pulitzer-Prize winning author and scholar Viet Thanh Nguyen, introduced by Thuy Vo Dang (UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive).

Thursday, Feb 3, 2022

5 PM – 6:30 PM PST


This event supports our year-long theme, “For a more perfect union?” and contributes to campus-wide discussions of wisdom in the world. How does literature help us reimagine community in a changing world? How is literature a conduit of wisdom that attunes us to ancestors, history, the environment, other people, and ourselves?

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. His novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed, was released in March 2021. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has been interviewed by Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, Seth Meyers, and Terry Gross, among many others. He is also  the author of the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees. Most recently he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. He is the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. His most recent publication is Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison. His next book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer, coming out in March 2021.

Co-sponsored by Illuminations, Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion, Office of Inclusive Excellence, and UCI’s Southeast Asian Archive.


The UCI DIY project, in partnership with UCI’s Illuminations program and the Humanities Center’s “To Form a More Perfect Union?” series, invites undergraduates to submit a range of creative and critical work in robust conversation with the speakers appearing this coming academic year.  In 2021-2022, Illuminations will feature some of our country’s must important, award-winning writers and thinkers, including Tracy K. Smith and Joy Harjo (fall), Viet Thanh Nguyen (winter), and Sandra Cisneros (spring).  Undergrad students will have the opportunity to create their own work responding to these speakers’ writing.
This term, we especially invite submissions responding to the work of Viet Thanh Nguyen, who will be appearing virtually on campus this term!  Work can be poems, stories, art work, sound essays, or videos.  We would particularly like submissions to address, in response to Professor Nguyen’s work, the following question: “How does literature help us reimagine community in a changing world?”  Selected student work will be posted on the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) website for the UCI DIY project. 

For more information about submitting work, check out the UCI DIY website: https://ucidiy.due.uci.edu/

UCI DIY is sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Education.  For more information, contact associate dean Jonathan Alexander at jfalexan@uci.edu.  SUGGESTED DEADLINE:  end of February, though we will accept submissions throughout the term. Please submit them through the website: https://ucidiy.due.uci.edu/.