"Out of Place: Refugees, Immigrants, and Storytelling" is the subject of Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has been interviewed by Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, Seth Meyers, and Terry Gross, among many others. His current book is the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees. Most recently he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. He is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.
The Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture is given once a year in honor of the public intellectual and literary critic, Edward W. Said, who taught in the English & Comparative Literature Department at Columbia from 1963 until 2003, and who was a member of the board of guarantors at the Italian Academy. Professor Said was perhaps best known for his books Orientalism, published in 1978, and Culture and Imperialism, published in 1993, both of which made major contributions to the field of cultural and postcolonial studies. The Annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture pays tribute to Professor Said by bringing to Columbia speakers who embody his beliefs and the legacy of his work.