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Steinbeck Alumni Reading R.O. Kwon, Vanessa Hua, & Kirstin Chin
Start Date: 3/7/2019Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Date: 3/7/2019End Time: 9:00 PM

Event Description:
Join the Center for Literary Arts and the Steinbeck Center in welcoming back former Steinbeck Fellows R.O. Kwon, Kirstin Chen, and Vanessa Hua as they read from their latest novels. The reading will take place in the MLK Library, 8th Floor on Thursday, March 7th, 2019 at 7PM.

R.O. Kwon’s debut novel, The Incendiaries, a national bestseller, was recently named one of the best books of the year by Buzzfeed, The Today Show, NPR, The Atlantic, LitHub, Electric Lit, PBS Books, Nylon, Bustle, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, Newsweek, and BBC. The Paris Review calls The Incendiaries, “Remarkable…Every page blooms with sensuous language…These are characters in quiet crisis, burning, above all, to know themselves, and Kwon leads them, confidently, to an enthralling end.” The Wall Street Journal says “The main attraction and reward of this book is Kwon’s prose. Spiky, restless and nervously perceptive, it exhales spiritual unease.” Published by Riverhead in July of 2018, The Incendiaries is a powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult’s acts of terrorism.

Kwon is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, BuzzFeed, Noon, Time, Electric Literature, Playboy, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony. Born in South Korea, she’s mostly lived in the United States.

Kirstin Chen’s new novel, Bury What We Cannot Take (Little A, March 2018), has been named a Most Anticipated Upcoming Book by Electric Literature, The Millions, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle, among others. Elle Magazine calls Bury What We Cannot Take “captivating” and a “complex historical tale” we all need right now. Bury What We Cannot Take tells the story of the Ong family, who have been forced to flee Communist China and faced with a heartbreaking sacrifice, ultimately tearing the family apart. Chen skillfully depicts the journey of motherhood and survival in a time of political oppression and mortal danger.

Chen is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners. She was the fall 2017 NTU-NAC National Writer in Residence in Singapore, and has received awards from the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently resides in San Francisco.

Vanessa Hua’s debut novel, A River of Stars (Random House, 2018), has been named one of the Best Books of 2018 by NPR and Real Simple. Entertainment Weekly calls A River of Stars “stirring” and “the most eye-opening literary adventure of the year.” In A River of Stars, Hua unfolds a story of two pregnant Chinese women hidden away by their immigrant families in an illegal Los Angeles Maternity hotel. Through the trials of first-time motherhood, Hua immerses us in the choices we make to survive in an uncertain world.

Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.

The reading will be followed by an audience Q&A, plus a book sale and signing. This event is free and open to the public.
Location Information:
SJSU Main Campus
Contact Information:
Name: Selena Anderson
Phone: 408-924-4449
Additional Information
Event Type
  • Lectures

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