A Conversation with Author Gish Jen

By Bridgit Brown

Author Gish Jen read from her fifth novel World And Town, recently republished in paperback, at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, MA on October 26, 2011.  ArtSceNE contributor Bridgit Brown sat down with her after the reading.

Gish Jen’s fifth novel, World and Town, centers on Hattie Kong, a 63-year old, retired widow, and a descendant of Confucius. When very little seems to be happening in Riverlake, the small New England town that the narrator calls “American before America became American,” the Chhungs, an immigrant Cambodian family moves in right next door to Hattie in a trailer. With their arrival also come the rest of the world and an awakening of something in Hattie that had long been asleep. She takes an interest in the teenage Sophy Chhung, the oldest daughter in the family and a first generation Cambodian-American. Through their conversations, history intersects with the present, and what it means to be American is both refined and redefined.

For more about Gish Jen and her previous works, visit http://www.gishjen.com/home.


About the Author
Bridgit Brown Bridgit Brown
Bridgit Brown is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Emerson College ('98). She was a Fulbright Lecturing and Research Scholar in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, and her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner, Color Magazine, BasicBlack.org: Black Perspectives Now, Colorlines of Architecture, Exhale Magazine, Ibbetson Street Magazine, and Somerville Review.


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