Fiction Showcase: Phong Nguyen, Robin McLean, and Akil Kumarasamy

Saturday, October 15, 2022
1:30pm, Fine Arts Building

This event will be ASL interpreted!

Join us as three rising stars of contemporary fiction share their latest work!  Whether depicting the past, present, or future, these keenly observed and lyrically written works encourage us to contemplate the world we inhabit—and maybe make it better. 

Phong Nguyen presents Bronze Drum (Grand Central), a stunning novel of ancient Vietnam based on the true story of two warrior sisters who raised an army of women to overthrow the Han Chinese and rule over a united people—a story of standing up for one’s culture and country that has been passed down through oral tradition for generations.

“Part epic history, part romantic drama, and all mastery. The novel recounts the Vietnamese people’s astonishing 40 CE rebellion against their Han occupiers, led by the legendary Trung sisters and their female army. If you’re like me, you’ll devour this joyous, defiant novel while cheering for the Trungs and wishing their magnificent, feminist army could lead a rebellion here, today.”

―Whitney Terrell

Robin McLean presents Get’em Young, Treat’em Tough, Tell’em Nothing (And Other Stories), a collection of ten dark, profane, and hilarious yet ultimately humane stories that marry the sardonic moral and political explorations of a Flannery O’Connor to the surreal, scuzzy wit of a Denis Johnson, offering a brazen State of the Union for a nation on the edge.

“Deeply engaged with the rural, with people on their way off the grid, Robin McLean’s fiction is at once fantastical and intensely observed. These are stories about human frailty and darkness, shot through with small moments of glory.”

—Brian Evenson

Akil Kumarasamy presents Meet Us by the Roaring Sea (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a genre-bending novel in which a young woman sets on a journey through language, archives, artificial intelligence, and TV for a way back into herself, leading her to question: How involved are we in the suffering of others? What does real compassion look like? How do you make a better world?

“Akil Kumarasamy’s prose is an explosive mix of ancient wisdom laced with foreboding futurism. This deeply intelligent novel will expand your perception of history, gender, the atrocities of war and the interconnectedness of our human story.”  

—Kali Fajardo-Anstine