SAL/on air is a literary podcast featuring the best author talks from over thirty years of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ programming.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
In this special Thanksgiving episode, we hear from Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees, who joined us at Benaroya Hall in May 2018. He is introduced by Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director, and is interviewed after his talk by Jamie Ford, the celebrated author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
In Viet Thanh Nguyen’s story “Black Eyed Woman” from The Refugees, the narrator speaks to us about the arrival of stories and of ghosts, saying: “Stories are just things we fabricate, nothing more. We search for them in a world beside our own, then leave them here to be found, garments shed by ghosts.” This slight of hand illuminates the heart of Nguyen’s writing – the ideas that stories are just fabricated things, nothing more. Yet also that stories are everything we search for, the only things that remain of us, the things we leave to be found, the things that give meaning.
Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of five books, including The Sympathizer, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction and a place on every best book list of 2015. His other works include the nonfiction Nothing Ever Dies, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the short story collection The Refugees.