Category: Interviews

Namwali Serpell in the News

Namwali Serpell has been getting international attention for her recently released novel, The Old Drift. Here is a small sample of reviews: The New York Times Again The New York Times, this review by Salman Rushdie The Times of London Mwebantu The Los Angeles Times The Boston Globe The Guardian You can read an excerpt on Literary Hub. Interest in...

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Catherine Gallagher Interviewed by UC Berkeley Emeriti Association

Catherine Gallagher has been interviewed by the University of California Berkeley Emeriti Association (UCBEA) as part of a pilot for a new program, the Legacy Project. The project involves video recording of emeriti faculty for the purpose of preserving the history and accomplishments of its distinguished faculty.  More specifically, the Legacy Project has the purpose of producing video interviews with faculty who are entering...

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To Tell the Truth … To Be Seen: Poet Javier Zamora (’12) on Unaccompanied

UC Berkeley alumnus Javier Zamora (’12) published his first book of poetry, Unaccompanied, in 2017. Fleeing a civil war and gang violence in El Salvador, Zamora’s parents immigrated to the United States when he was two, leaving him with his grandparents until his own migration, alone, at age nine. The poems of Unaccompanied explore that family history, its larger contexts,...

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Viet Thanh Nguyen: Going Public

The author, scholar, and MLA member Viet Thanh Nguyen spoke with the MLA’s executive director, Paula Krebs, in October 2017, after he had been awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. His debut novel, The Sympathizer, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. PAULA KREBS: Congratulations on winning a MacArthur. Do you have plans? VIET THANH NGUYEN: I run a blog called...

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A Way of Reaching Back: Mai Der Vang (’03) on the poetry of Afterland

In 2017, UC Berkeley English alumna Mai Der Vang (’03) published her first book of poetry, Afterland, which recounts the Hmong exodus from Laos after U.S. forces abandoned their Secret War, and subsequent refugee experiences of Hmong exiles and their descendants in the United States. The book was selected by Carolyn Forché as the winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman...

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Robert Hass and Amanda Su interview author Shawna Yang Ryan

Earlier last year, alumni and author Shawna Yang Ryan (’98) published her second novel, Green Island, an exploration of immigration and 1940’s authoritarian rule in China through the narrative of one girl force to flee with her family to California after the The February 28 Incident in Taiwan. Recently, Professor Robert Hass and graduate student Amanda Su sat down with Ryan to discuss her writing process, her time at...

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John Shoptaw wins 2016 Northern California Book Award; discusses winning book, Times Beach

This academic year has proven itself to be an exciting one for Professor John Shoptaw; after publishing his book of poetry Times Beach in late 2015, he received both the Notre Dame Book Review Prize, as well as the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Poetry for his work.   Earlier last month, English Alum (’13) and current English PhD student at...

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Interview with BA and Ph.D Alum Viet Thanh Nguyen

Earlier this year, B.A. and Ph.D alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen* published his first novel, The Sympathizer, to great critical esteem. The novel, heralded by Maxine Hong Kingston as “(a) book that will go down in history as an important novel of the war in Vietnam,” has appeared on numerous best novels lists, including The New York Times and The Guardian.  Recently, Viet...

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Teaching and Writing at Berkeley: An Interview with Joyce Carol Oates

In 2012-13, the English Department hosted Joyce Carol Oates, whose usual home is Princeton, as a visiting professor. While here, she taught a creative writing workshop on “short fiction” to a very lucky group of undergraduates. Our own Donald McQuade recently had the opportunity to interview Oates about her experience teaching and writing at Berkeley.

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This is Not a Writing Blog Post

We had the chance to catch up with Kerri Majors (’98) recently about her new book for young adult writers. The conversation ended up meandering across a number of different topics, including the current boom in college writing and MFA programs, why writers should buy planners, and Majors’s own writerly biography. It contains a lot of advice for young writers, and plenty to interest writers and readers of all ages.

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