Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and came to the United States as a refugee in 1975. “My memories of becoming a refugee are fragments of a dream,” he writes, “hallucinatory and unreliable. Soldiers bouncing me on their knees, a tank rumbling through the streets, a crowded barge of desperate people fleeing Vietnam.” In his work, including the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Sympathizer and his forthcoming collection of short stories, The Refugees, Nguyen examines the far-reaching effects of war and gives voice to life lived between two worlds, the adopted homeland, and the country of birth. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
Judson True received a Master of Journalism from UC Berkeley before working in San Francisco government. A former spokesman for Muni, he now serves as chief of staff for California Assemblymember David Chiu. His previous City Arts & Lectures interviews include Joan Didion, David Remnick, Gene Wilder, Jill Lepore, and Barney Frank.