Born and raised in the Bay Area, Vanessa Hua is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Economist, The New York Times, and Newsweek. A graduate of UC Riverside’s MFA program, she she won the Atlantic Monthly’s student fiction contest in 2008, and in 2005 won Cream City Review’s fiction contest.
The following is an excerpt from her story in the Spring 2011 issue of ZYZZYVA — a story taken from her finished unpublished novel, Without Heaven. The novel was inspired, Hua says, by “documentary footage of Chairman Mao swing dancing with teen age girls … After stumbling across a short clip, I wanted to learn more about the recruits for this dance troupe. There wasn’t much information available, which gave me the room necessary to work on a novel.”
She will be reading from her story at the ZYZZYVA event at the Booksmith in San Francisco on May 4, and at the ZYZZYVA event at Skylight Books in Los Angeles on May 14.