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Viet Thanh Nguyen + Susan Straight | PEN Out Loud

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen joins PEN Out Loud to discuss his new memoir, A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial. Inventive and lyrical, Nguyen is completely immersed in family history, from his parent’s arrival in the United States in 1975 as refugees from Vietnam to Nguyen’s experiences as son and father. A Man of Two Faces expands the genre of personal memoir by reckoning with larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America. Nguyen has also been a longtime advocate for narrative plentitude. His lauded essay for the New York Times, “My Young Mind Was Disturbed by a Book. It Changed My Life,” is powerful testimony in support of the freedom to read.

Viet Thanh Nguyen will be joined in conversation by national bestselling author Susan Straight. This in-person reading and conversation will begin at 7:00pm PT, followed by a book signing and reception.

This program is co-presented by Skylight Books, and is made possible in part by the support of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.



Viet Thanh Nguyen headshotViet Thanh Nguyen is a novelist and the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies at USC. His best-selling novel, The Sympathizer, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Literary Excellence from the American Library Association.


Susan Straight is the author of several novels, including Mecca (2022, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and the national bestseller Highwire Moon, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She also wrote A Million Nightingales, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as the memoir In the Country of Women, named a best book of 2019 by NPR and Real Simple. She is the recipient of the Edgar Award for Best Short Story, the O. Henry Prize, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, Harper’s, and elsewhere. She was born and continues to live in Riverside, California, with her family, where she serves as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.


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