Like the stunning poems of his collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds , Vuong’s kaleidoscopic first novel speaks from the heart of multi-generational PTSD, charting the fate of a Vietnamese-American family struggling to settle into life in Hartford, Connecticut. Vuong frames his novel as a letter from Little Dog, a young gay writer, to his mother. The only one of his family fluent in English, Little Dog sees language as the key to belonging in America, and his determination to record all he knows of his relatives’ lives infuses his every word with life-or-death urgency. Along with stories of his mother and grandmother, he recounts his own coming-of-age as a gay man, becoming a moving elegy to his first lover—dead of an overdose at 22. Vuong is in conversation with Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, Curator of Asian Pacific American Studies at the Smithsonian.
Eve Ensler: Live at Politics and Prose
Ensler is a Tony-award winning playwright, author, performer, and activist, best-known for The Vagina Monologues, which examined consensual and nonconsensual sex, reproduction, sex work, body image, and other issues from the perspectives of women of various ages, races, and sexualities. Premiering in 1996, this groundbreaking performance piece has been published in nearly fifty languages and performed in more than 140 countries. Its popularity helped Ensler found V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In her powerful new memoir, Ensler writes the apology she never received from her abusive father, attempting to transform the experience into a revolutionary call for courage, honesty, and forgiveness.
Simon Tam: Live at Politics and Prose
Tam founded his Asian-American dance rock band, The Slants, in 2006. Known for their community activism, the band dedicated itself to overturning stereotypes—a mission that started with the name, which refers not only to individual perspectives and guitar chords, but to Asian ethnic identity. Seeking to reclaim this derogatory term as a badge of pride, Tam applied to register “Slant” as a trademark. When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected his application, Tam pursued his case to the Supreme Court—where he won a unanimous victory in 2017. In this spirited and inspiring memoir of his fight for free speech, Tam reflects on questions of identity as he moves from anime conventions and cultural festivals all the way through the U.S. legal system. Tam is in conversation with Robert Barnes, reporter for The Washington Post covering the U.S. Supreme Court. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Casey Cep: Live at Politics and Prose
After writing To Kill a Mockingbird and helping her lifelong friend Truman Capote research In Cold Blood, the late Harper Lee set to work on a true-crime book of her own. Never completed, the work was based on the case of Willie Maxwell, a rural Alabama preacher accused of killing five members of his family in the 1970s. Lee spent a year in Maxwell’s town reporting on the story, which took a further turn when Maxwell was shot at the funeral of his last victim, and his killer, despite many witnesses, was acquitted. Drawing on Lee’s research papers and some fifty of her unpublished letters, Cep offers a detailed portrait of the reclusive writer’s working methods, including her struggles with drinking; recounts a fascinating real-life Southern Gothic; and gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the book that might have been. https://www.politics-prose.com/event/book/casey-cep-furious-hours-murder-fraud-and-last-trial-of-harper-lee Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
George Packer: Live at Politics and Prose
Packer’s biography of Richard Holbrooke (1941-2010) is also the story of the United States from the Vietnam War, where Holbrooke gained his first experience as an advisor, to the conflict in Afghanistan, which Holbrooke, by then a seasoned diplomat, sought to end. For both the man and the nation, the period was a series of crises, frustrations, and victories that showcased both strength and heedless self-confidence. Drawing on Holbrooke’s journals and letters, diaries of key government officials, and interviews with figures including Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzai, David Petraeus, and Bosnian war criminals, Packer, an Atlantic staff writer and author of the National Book Award-winning Unwinding, not only portrays a brilliant and complicated man but shows how his ideas and temperament helped shape several decades of U.S. foreign policy. https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9780307958020 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit