Karl Ashoka Britto in Public Books:
Since the 2015 publication of his Pulitzer Prize–winning debut novel The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen has emerged as one of the literary world’s leading public intellectuals. At a time of rising xenophobia and anti-refugee sentiment in the United States and elsewhere, Nguyen’s fiction, academic writing, and media commentary remind us of the need to keep telling the stories that drop out of national narratives, and to remember the histories that the powerful would have us forget. In the following conversation with Karl Ashoka Britto, Nguyen discusses literary form and the representation of violence, the complex dynamics of remembering and forgetting, and the possibility of a politics that could be post-communist without being pro-capitalist.
Nguyen is University Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Comparative Literature, as well as the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, at the University of Southern California. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has received many other honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.