Interior Chinatown: A Novel -- a VIRTUAL EVENT on Zoom | Mechanics' Institute

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Interior Chinatown: A Novel -- a VIRTUAL EVENT on Zoom
with author Charles Yu in conversation with writer Bonnie Tsui -- Co-presented by Mechanics' Institute and Litquake

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 6:00pm

A VIRTUAL Event on Zoom

co-presented by Mechanics' Institute and Litquake

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.

This infinitely inventive and deeply personal novel explores the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration. Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for fiction.


Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but always he is relegated to a prop. Yet every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. Or is it?

After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family. Infinitely inventive and deeply personal, exploring the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration — Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.

Charles Yu is the author of four books, including Interior Chinatown (the winner of the 2020 National Book Award for fiction), and the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (a New York Times Notable Book and a Time magazine best book of the year). He received the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC, and HBO. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among other publications. Together with, he established the Betty L. Yu and Jin C. Yu Writing Prizes, in honor of his parents. (Photo by Tina Chiou)

Bonnie Tsui is a longtime contributor to The New York Times and the author of American Chinatown, winner of the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her latest book, Why We Swim, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Time magazine and NPR Best Book of 2020; it is currently being translated into nine languages. Her first children’s book, Sarah and the Big Wave, about the first woman to surf Northern California’s Mavericks, was published last year. Her work has been recognized and supported by Harvard University, the National Press Foundation, and the Mesa Refuge.








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Meet the Author(s)

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