Viet Thanh Nguyen on Remembering and Forgetting

Write-minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers is currently in its fourth year. We are a weekly podcast for writers craving a unique blend of inspiration and real talk about the ups and downs of the writing life. Hosted by Brooke Warner of She Writes and Grant Faulkner of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), each theme-focused episode of Write-minded features an interview with a writer, author, or publishing industry professional.

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It’s Write-minded’s 300th episode! And we’re celebrating by bringing listeners the esteemed Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose novel The Sympathizer was adapted for HBO Max and started streaming in April. In this interview, Nguyen addresses didacticism as a craft choice, the mindset of writers who, like him, find themselves between two languages, and how his desire to capture the Vietnamese perspective on the Vietnam War (and more) made him a writer. Nguyen’s generosity and enthusiasm for his work and his craft shine through in every answer, and Write-minded is grateful to cap this milestone with such a beloved author and guest.

Subscribe and download the episode, wherever you get your podcasts. 



Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is now a series on HBO Max, and The Committed. His other books include 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; Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America; The Refugees; and The Man with Two Faces. He also co-authored Chicken of the Sea with his then six-year-old son, Ellison, and he’s the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives and the Library of America volume for Maxine Hong Kingston.

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