When: Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 08:00pm
Where: Rutgers Student Center, Multipurpose Room - 126 College Ave, New Brunswick NJ, US, 08901
Category: 2012-2013 Writers at Rutgers Reading Series
“Jen knows how to create thoughtful characters who can talk and think about complex issues without making us take notes.” —Washington Post
Chinese-American novelist Gish Jen is the author of numerous award-winning books, including the novels World and Town, Mona In the Promised Land, The Love Wife, and Typical American, and the collection of stories, Who's Irish?. World and Town (2011), which follows themes as ambitious as globalization, fundamentalism, immigration, and America in the aftermath of September 11th, won the Massachusetts Book Award, was a NY Times Editors’ Choice, and was a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Typical American was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Jen has become an authority on themes of identity in fiction. Her novels often portray individuals, families, and entire communities struggling with questions of race, religion, and upbringing—asking us, in short, what it means to identify as American. Her second novel, Mona in the Promised Land (Vintage, 1997), features a Chinese-American who converts to Judaism, while The Love Wife (2005) portrays an interracial Asian-American family with both biological and adopted children. "As soon as you ask yourself the question, 'What does it mean to be Irish-American, Iranian-American, Greek-American,' you are American," she has said.
A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jen is also the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim foundation, Radcliffe Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded a Lannan Literary Award in Fiction in 1999 as well as the Mildred and Harold Strauss Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.