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Susan Choi
Susan Choi

MAJOR CONTEMPORARY NOVELIST, TO DELIVER70TH ANNUAL MCKINNEY READING AT RENSSELAER

NYS Writers Institute, April 14, 2011
8:00 p.m. Reading | Biotech Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy, NY


CALENDAR LISTING:

Susan Choi, Pulitzer Prize finalist for American Woman (2003), based on the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and author most recently of A Person of Interest (2008), a thriller based on the Unabomber and Wen Ho Lee investigations, will read as part of Rensselaer’s 70th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 14, 2011, in the Biotech Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy, NY. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Rensselaer’s Department of Language, Literature, and Communication, and cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

 

PROFILE
Susan Choi, Korean-American fiction writer, is a major voice among a younger generation of contemporary fiction writers. Joan Didion has called her “a writer whose intelligence and historical awareness effortlessly serve a breathtaking narrative ability.” Writing in the Boston Globe in 2008, Richard Eder called her, “among the most powerful and subtly complex of our younger writers….”

Choi is the author most recently of A Person of Interest (2008), a thriller about a mild-mannered Asian American math professor falsely accused of killing prominent scientists with mail bombs. The novel has been described as a fusion of the Unabomber and Wen Ho Lee investigations. Writing in the Washington Post, Ron Charles called it, “one of the most remarkable novels to have emerged from our age of terror.” The Village Voice reviewer called the book, “stunning,” and said that it “succeeds on so many levels.” Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Francine Prose said, “We read A Person of Interest for one of the best reasons to read any fiction: to transcend the limitations of our own lives, to find out what it’s like to be someone else, to recognize unmistakable aspects of ourselves staring back at us from the portrait of a stranger.”

Choi was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for American Woman (2003), a novel based on the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The novel’s central character, Jenny Shimada, is based on the real-life Japanese-American radical, Wendy Yoshimura. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Sven Birkerts said, “In the manner of Don DeLillo in Libra or Joyce Carol Oates in Black Water... [Choi] takes us straight into one of the strangest segments of our ever surreal American dream life.”

Choi’s first novel was The Foreign Student (1999), winner of the Asian-American Literary Award. A tale of the relationship between a Korean refugee and a New Orleans heiress, the novel is based on Choi’s father’s experiences in wartime Korea and in America. Publishers Weekly called it, an “impressive debut” and “a work full of ambition and considerable talent.” Novelist John Gregory Dunne called it, “A novel of secrets that unfolds like the leaves on an artichoke. The Foreign Student… marks the debut of a gifted young novelist wise beyond her years.”

A former fact-checker and staff member of The New Yorker, Choi also coedited the anthology, Wonderful Town: New York Stories from ‘The New Yorker’” (2000), with the magazine’s editor-in-chief, David Remnick.

A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, Choi lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Pete Wells, editor of the Dining section of the New York Times.

Previous Visit: February 12, 2008

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.