Although this event has passed, you can still purchase tickets now through Tuesday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m. (PT). The event will be viewable until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22.
Charles Yu is the infinitely inventive writer on HBO’s Westworld and the author of four books, including his latest, Interior Chinatown, winner of the 2020 National Book Award.
Interior Chinatown is a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
Q&A with Shawn Wong.
In Interior Chinatown, Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but always he is relegated to a prop. Yet every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. Or is it?
After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family. Infinitely inventive and deeply personal, exploring the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration—Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.
Charles Yu is also the author of the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010), and the short story collections Third Class Superhero (2006) and Sorry Please Thank You (2012). Yu has received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, been nominated for two Writers Guild of America awards for his work on the HBO series Westworld, and has also written for shows on FX, AMC, Facebook Watch, and Adult Swim. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a number of publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired, Time and Ploughshares.
Shawn Wong, our Q&A moderator for the evening, is the Byron and Alice Lockwood Professor in the Humanities at the University of Washington, where he teaches Asian American literature in the Department of English and screenwriting in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies. Wong is the author of the novels Homebase (1979) and American Knees (1995), the latter of which was adapted into the feature film, Americanese (2006), directed by Eric Byler. He is the editor of numerous anthologies, including the landmark Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers. Learn more.