Thursday, May 2nd @ 6:30 pm - Viet Thanh Nguyen w/Lisa See discusses "The Displaced"
DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood welcomes Viet Thanh Nguyen to the store to discuss The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives on Thursday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm. Joining him in conversation will be best-selling author Lisa See. Please note that this event will take place in the lower outdoor courtyard adjacent to our store.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Today the world faces an enormous refugee crisis: 68.5 million people fleeing persecution and conflict from Myanmar to South Sudan and Syria, a figure worse than the flight of Jewish and other Europeans during World War II and beyond anything the world has seen in this generation. Yet in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries with the means to welcome refugees, anti-immigration politics and fear seem poised to shut the door. Even for readers seeking to help, the sheer scale of the problem renders the experience of refugees hard to comprehend.
Viet Nguyen, called "one of our great chroniclers of displacement" (Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker), brings together writers originally from Mexico, Bosnia, Iran, Afghanistan, Soviet Ukraine, Hungary, Chile, Ethiopia, and others to make their stories heard. They are formidable in their own right--MacArthur Genius grant recipients, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalists, filmmakers, speakers, lawyers, professors, and New Yorker contributors--and they are all refugees, many as children arriving in London and Toronto, Oklahoma and Minnesota, South Africa and Germany. Their 17 contributions are as diverse as their own lives have been, and yet hold just as many themes in common.
Reyna Grande questions the line between "official" refugee and "illegal" immigrant, chronicling the disintegration of the family forced to leave her behind; Fatima Bhutto visits Alejandro Iñárritu's virtual reality border crossing installation "Flesh and Sand"; Aleksandar Hemon recounts a gay Bosnian's answer to his question, "How did you get here?"; Thi Bui offers two uniquely striking graphic panels; David Bezmozgis writes about uncovering new details about his past and attending a hearing for a new refugee, and Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang recalls the courage of children in a camp in Thailand.
These essays reveal moments of uncertainty, resilience in the face of trauma, and a reimagining of identity, forming a compelling look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge. The Displaced is also a commitment: Abrams Press will donate 10 percent of the cover price of this book, a minimum of $25,000 annually, to the International Rescue Committee, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief, and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict.
Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1971. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he and his family fled to the United States. The author of three books including the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, Nguyen is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles.
Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and many others. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family's settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker's Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.