The Bright Side: On Writing in America Today

Moderator: Jen Sookfong Lee

The Bright Side: On Writing in America Today

Wednesday, Oct 21
Live on Zoom

The list of awards and accolades for these three American writers combined would continue long past this page, so we’ll just say that these incredibly gifted writers are at the top of their game, their works each addressing timeless and timely themes of individuality, freedom, justice, equality. Megha Majumdar’s electrifying debut, A Burning, follows three characters seeking to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies. Kawai Strong Washburn’s groundbreaking novel folds the legends of Hawai’ian gods into an engrossing family saga. Charles Yu’s fiction can be discovered in episodes of Westworld or one of his two lauded novels. His most recent, Interior Chinatown, is an intimate story about race, pop culture, and escaping stereotypes. These three sharp minds talk about the bright side of living in America right now—and writing it, too.

JEN SOOKFONG LEE‘s books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, Gentlemen of the Shade, Chinese New Year, and Whatever Gets You Through. She teaches at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn, and co-hosts the literary podcast, Can’t Lit.

Event Participants:

Megha Majumdar

United States / India

MEGHA MAJUMDAR is Associate Editor at Catapult in New York City, where she works on both books and the magazine. Her debut novel, A Burning, was an instant NYT bestseller and is longlisted for a 2020 National Book Award. She grew up in India, and studied anthropology at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Kawai Strong Washburn

United States

KAWAI STRONG WASHBURN was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i. His work has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, McSweeney’s, and Electric Literature’s “Recommended Reading,” among other outlets. He was a 2015 Tin House Summer Scholar and a 2015 Bread Loaf work-study scholar. Today, he lives with his wife and daughters in Minneapolis. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is his first novel.

Charles Yu

United States

CHARLES YU is the author of three books, including the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two WGA awards for his work on the HBO series Westworld. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications including The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal. His new novel, Interior Chinatown, is longlisted for a 2020 National Book Award.