Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

215 Festival: Seeing and Being Seen: Asian Americans in American Letters

May 14 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Asian people have been Americans for a very long time, but in a culture roiled by ethnic violence and recently obsessed with the performance of authentic culture, Asian American authors are experiencing an astonishing level of professional attention and a complex kind of scrutiny.

Join Tracy O’Neill (author of Quotients), Sonya Chung (author of The Loved Ones), and Kevin Nguyen (author of New Waves) as they discuss the myriad ways our identities are impacted by a society organized in large part by watching and being watched in various spheres of our lives, through the perspectives Asian writers articulate in American literary fiction. With moderator Alex Lanz, these authors will explore the themes of race, culture, and life under various forms of observation as they reveal who is watching and who’s being seen in the contemporary novel.

About The Panelists

Kevin Nguyen is the features editor at The Verge and was previously a senior editor at GQ. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Tracy O’Neill is the author of The Hopeful, one of Electric Literature’s Best Novels of 2015, and Quotients, a New York Times​ New & Noteworthy Book, TOR Editor’s Choice, & Literary Hub Favorite Book of 2020. In 2015, she was named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, long-listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan Prize, and was a Narrative Under 30 finalist. In 2012, she was awarded the Center for Fiction’s Emerging Writers Fellowship. Her short fiction was distinguished in the Best American Short Stories 2016 and earned a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2017. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, the New Yorker, LitHub, BOMB, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Believer, The Literarian, the Austin Chronicle, New World Writing, Narrative, Scoundrel Time, Guernica, Bookforum, Electric Literature, Grantland, Vice, The Guardian, VQR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Catapult. She holds an MFA program from the City College of New York; and an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD from Columbia University. While editor-in-chief of the literary journal Epiphany, she established the Breakout 8 Writers Prize with the Authors Guild. ​She currently teaches at Vassar College. Website: https://www.tracyoneill.net/

Sonya Chung is the author of the novels The Loved Ones (Relegation Books, 2016) and Long for This World (Scribner, 2010). She is a staff writer for the The Millions and founding editor of Bloom, and is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination, the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the Bronx Council on the Arts Writers’ Residency, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Key West Literary Seminars residency, a Studios of Key West residency, and an Escape to Create residency. Sonya’s stories, reviews, & essays have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Tin House, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, Short: An International Anthology, and This is The Place: Women Writing About Home, among others. Sonya has taught fiction writing at Columbia University, NYU, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Currently she lives in New York City, where she is deputy director at a nonprofit arthouse cinema. She also teaches in Warren Wilson’s MFA program, and is Writer-in-Residence at Skidmore College. Website: http://sonyachung.com/


May 14
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


215 Festival
The Stables Philly