Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer, will give the Tolles Lecture on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m., in the Chapel at Hamilton College. He will speak about his work, his process, his personal experiences as a refugee, and current political topics. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book-signing and reception.
Nguyen is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2016. It is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers a new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer.
Nguyen’s other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (2002). His most recent book is the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees.
Most recently he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. Nguyen is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.
The Tolles Lecture was established in 1991 by members of the class of 1951 in memory of Winton Tolles, class of 1928 and dean of the college from 1947 to 1972. It brings to the Hamilton campus distinguished writers in the field of literature, journalism, and theater to lecture and meet with students.