The narrative centers around Hsu and his friendship with University of California, Berkeley classmate, Ken. Two different identities, Ken, whose family had been in the United States for generations, represented everything that Hsu, a first-generation Taiwanese American, defined himself against—mainstream America. The two became friends, both agreeing that despite their differences, “American culture didn’t seem to have a place for either of them.”
Three years after their initial meeting, Ken is killed in carjacking in Vallejo, Calif., in July 1998, after a party in Berkeley. “Determined to hold on to all that was left of his best friend-his memories-Hsu turned to writing…A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.”
Hua Hsu is the author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific. A staff writer at The New Yorker, Hsu’s work has been published in Artforum, The Atlantic, Slate, and The Wire. A former fellow at the New American Foundation and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, Hsu is a professor of Literature at Bard College. He received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD from Harvard University.
For more information on Hsu, dig deeper and explore the links below:
- Stay True (2022)
- A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure across the Pacific (2016) *eBook
- “What Conversation Can Do for Us” (The New Yorker)
- “My Dad and Kurt Cobain” (The New Yorker)
- Stay True: Hua Hsu with Ken Chen | Conversations from the Cullman Center
- Podcast with Hua Hsu, author of Stay True
- Hua Hsu and Lucy Sante on Growing Up and Staying True
- #PouredOver: Hua Hsu on Stay True
- How Writing Matters: Hua Hsu
- Time to Say Goodbye LIVE + Stay True
- “Hua Hsu and Ryan Lee Wong On Writing AAPI Coming of Age Stories” (The Amp)
- “‘New Yorker’ Writer Hua Hsu On Friendship, Grief, And Pop Culture” (NPR)
- “Hua Hsu on his new book Stay True” (NPR)
- Hsu’s Twitter and Instagram
Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library.
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