Acclaimed Writer Charles Yu in conversation with Professor Paul Nadal

Written by
Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students
Feb. 2, 2021

On Thursday, February 11th at 5:00pm EST, the Asian American Student Association (AASA) and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) are thrilled to share one of today’s most brilliant and inventive writers, Charles Yu, with the Princeton community and greater public. Both AASA and ODUS share a common goal to present compelling narratives that illuminate our understanding of how identity and race operate in contemporary society. The discussion between acclaimed author Charles Yu and Paul Nadal, Assistant Professor of English and American Studies, will demonstrate the ways in which we can connect our scholarly pursuits with popular culture and our lived experiences.

CHARLES YU is the author of four books, including Interior Chinatown (the winner of the 2020 National Book Award for fiction), and the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (a New York Times Notable Book and a Time magazine best book of the year). He received the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC, and HBO. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among other publications. A native Californian, Yu graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in molecular and cellular biology and a minor in creative writing. After law school at Columbia, Yu practiced law for a number of years before writing full time.

Interior China Book Jacket

PAUL NADAL, will interview Yu before opening the discussion to questions from students. At Princeton, Nadal teaches courses on Asian American literature and culture, and serves as a faculty fellow at the Scholars Institute Fellowship Program (SIFP), Princeton’s mentorship program for first-generation and low-income students. Nadal is serving as an Elected Delegate (2020-2023) for the CLCS Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic at the Modern Language Association. Nadal has roots in California, receiving his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jerry Jiao ’24, a member of AASA leadership, noted that students are "super excited to host Charles Yu, the 2020 National Book Award winner and a “5 under 35” honoree, to share his perspectives on the unique issues that the Asian-American community faces. His award-winning novel Interior Chinatown strongly resonates with many young Asian-Americans both in and outside of the Princeton community as it probes into the model minority stereotypes. It’s an incredible opportunity to engage in a conversation about minority representation in American and we look forward to sharing his ideas with our community."

ODUS is providing free copies of Interior Chinatown to undergraduate students who register in advance. The form to request a copy of Yu’s novel can be found here. The event itself is free and open to the general public. The discussion will be streamed on the ODUS YouTube channel and both the University and AASA’s Facebook pages.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at with any questions. We hope that you can join us.