EVENT: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer, will read from his nonfiction and fiction works in a free program launching UCI’s 2017 Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellows Series.

WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, Crystal Cove Auditorium, UCI Student Center (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map: https://communications.uci.edu/documents/pdf/UCI_16_map_campus_core.pdf)

INFORMATION: Media planning to attend should contact Pat Harriman at 949-824-9055 or pharrima@uci.edu. Parking is complimentary for media who RSVP in advance.

BACKGROUND: Nguyen won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Sympathizer, a darkly humorous novel about a Communist spy who infiltrates the South Vietnamese army and immigrates with its survivors to America. His mission is to report on the soldiers’ efforts to rebuild their ranks and recapture their homeland.

Born in Vietnam in 1975 and currently teaching English and American studies & ethnicity at the University of Southern California, Nguyen said he feels indebted to everyone who has fought for civil rights, radical power, economic equity and justice in the literary world.

“No minority writer, no writer of color, can claim that he or she accomplished anything purely on their own merit,” he wrote after his Pulitzer notification. “We all owe so much to the collective struggles and activists that preceded us, that laid the foundations for our individual achievement, to everyone lucky enough to be remembered and so many who have been forgotten.”

Launched in 1999 by then-Chancellor Ralph Cicerone, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellows Series at UCI comprises free lectures by luminaries in literature, science, culture and politics. Magic Johnson spoke in 2015, and Katherine Boo – an investigative journalist and author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death & Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – appeared in 2016.