Deadline Approaching for our next Workshop: Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua

by ZYZZYVA

Vanessa Hua

Our next remote Writers’ Workshop is Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua on September 17th, 2022. (11am to 2pm PST via ZOOM). The deadline to purchase a ticket is September 15th. “Can I write about that?” The question of cultural appropriation is a complicated one, and so too its answers. In this discussion-based Writers’ Workshop, students will examine strategies for researching and portraying lives unlike our own, that reflect social and historical context and the fullness of a character’s humanity. Students will work on writing exercises and discuss texts by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Toni Morrison, Elaine Castillo, among others, along with […]

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Catch up on two of our most recent events, including an interview with Vanessa Hua

by ZYZZYVA Staff

In case you missed it: we’ve got handy Youtube links for two of our most recent ZYZZYVA-related events, including our Q&A with Vanessa Hua about her latest novel Forbidden City that happened at San Francisco’s The Booksmith on May 18th; as well as our May 19th Q&A with Ecuadorian author Gabriela Alemán about her new collection, titled Family Album: Stories, that occurred at City Lights Bookstore. What could be better than free literary-world entertainment, no? (And if you’re interested in reading more work from Alemán, do secure a copy of our latest issue, Issue 122, to read her story “School […]

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‘Forbidden City’ by Vanessa Hua: Beauty in the Brokenness

by Pia Chatterjee

It is an age-old tale: a young woman escapes the constraints of her provincial life to make her way to the big city, only to fall victim there to the machinations of an older, powerful man. But Vanessa Hua’s Forbidden City (353 pages; Ballantine Books), set in China just before the dawn of Mao’s Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, takes this trope and cunningly turns it on its head, making for one of the most compelling works of feminist and historical fiction in recent years. Unlike stereotypical ingenues, teenage Mei is morally ambiguous and neither beautiful nor beloved. She connives her way […]

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The Third Daughter

by Vanessa Hua

The Chairman is dead. Outside, the people of Chinatown are cheering. They light firecrackers and beat pots and pans, chanting as they march three floors below the window of my apartment. Their signs say, “Smash the Emperor!” Drips of paint spoil the sweep and curve of the calligraphy, the characters bleeding as if shot. Shouts

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New Book Releases to Read During Shelter in Place

by ZYZZYVA Staff

Readers and friends, we hope you are staying safe during these trying times. We are all adjusting to the societal changes that are taking place due to the impact of COVID-19. It occurs to us that many new book releases have not received the coverage they would have during a normal news cycle, and their authors’ book tours have been cancelled due to safety concerns. As such, we thought we would collect a list of such books here in the hopes of giving them their due attention, with a reminder that you can order from Bookshop.org to support your local […]

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ZYZZYVA Interview Series: Vanessa Hua

by Oscar Villalon

Vanessa Hua (whose stories “The Third Daughter” and “River of Stars” appeared in ZYZZYVA No. 91 and No. 98, respectively) is an award-winning, best-selling author and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her novel, A River of Stars, which has just been released, has been called a “marvel” by O, The Oprah Magazine, and “delightful” by The Economist. Her short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, received an Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature and was a finalist for a California Book Award. Hua spoke to ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon about her debut novel at the Booksmith in San Francisco last month. […]

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ZYZZYVA Interview Series: Vanessa Hua

by me

Vanessa Hua (whose stories “The Third Daughter” and “River of Stars” appeared in ZYZZYVA No. 91 and No. 98, respectively) is the author of the story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities, named a “searing debut” by O, The Oprah Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in the Atlantic, Guernica, and elsewhere, and for nearly two decades she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora, filing stories from China, Burma, South Korea, Panama, Abu Dhabi, and Ecuador. A Visiting Editor in Creative Nonfiction at Saint Mary’s College this fall, she is also a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. Hua spoke to […]

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The State of the Bracket

by editor

The NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Championship will be played next Monday. The field of sixty-four college teams has been whittled to four. Warren Buffet’s $1 billion bounty for correctly predicting the winner of each game in the tournament will go unclaimed. And for weeks, people asked—they had to ask—the question, How is your bracket? So, how are your brackets, dear ZYZZYVA friends and contributors? Kate Milliken: I’m offended by the question. Ben Greenman: The way this tournament has gone, the only way to look at brackets is philosophically. What is victory, really? What is loss? Who can say for certain that […]

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The Third Daughter

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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.

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