Writer and University of Southern California Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday for his best-selling debut novel, "The Sympathizer".
Nguyen said in a Facebook post that he received the news at three p.m. on Monday while in a hotel room in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently on tour for his second novel, he wrote that he "sat around shocked" and was "stunned" upon hearing the news.
His award-winning novel, "The Sympathizer", is a Vietnam War novel about a half-French half-Vietnamese communist double-agent living in Los Angeles. The narrator, who retells the story in the form of a coerced confession, hopes that his story will provide a "de-Americanized" view of the war, but ultimately fails.
advanced reader copy cover of my novel The Sympathizer, forthcoming April 2015, with some choice blurbs
— viet thanh nguyen (@viet_t_nguyen) October 10, 2014
Nguyen said while on tour that his novel is meant give the honest and painful truth about the Vietnam War from a different and diverse perspective.
"I went into this novel wanting to write without compromise, without worrying about what other people would think because the novel is meant to be provocative and it's meant to be critical of all sides who were involved in this war, so there is something here for everyone to dislike," said Nguyen.
The novel has also won the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Literary Excellence from the American Library Association and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Fiction from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. It also appeared on over 30 best-of lists in 2015, including those of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, Public Books, Kirkus Reviews, The Guardian, Library Journal, Flavorwire and BuzzFeed.
See the full list of 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners here.
Reach Staff Reporter Sameera Jordan here.