Ocean Vuong presents "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous," with Hua Hsu

June 3, 2021, 7:30 PM

Ocean Vuong joins us for the paperback release of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, in conversation with Hua Hsu. This program is in partnership with the Asian American Writers Workshop and Murmrr and will take place on Zoom. Purchase tickets here:

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Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. A recipient of the 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he is also the winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His writings have been featured in The AtlanticHarper's MagazineThe NationThe New RepublicThe New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. 

Hua Hsu is a staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the forthcoming memoir, Stay True. He teaches at Vassar College. He serves on the boards of the Asian American Writers' Workshop and Critical Minded, an initiative to support cultural critics of color.

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is a national literary nonprofit dedicated to publishing and incubating work by Asian and Asian diasporic writers, poets, and artists. Since our founding in 1991, we have provided a countercultural literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Visit us at aaww.org.

***Note: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous will be published on June 1st, and books will begin shipping on that date. This is a US-based event ONLY, and please allow up to 3-4 weeks for delivery of your book. Due to complications around shipping during the pandemic, delays can be common. All tickets include the cost of shipping to domestic addresses only.