On Wednesday, November 29th at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Duke University Press Books in celebrating the launch of Nimrods: a fake-punk self-hurt anti-memoir by Kawika Guillermo, with guest David Chariandy.
Their discussion will focus on memoir, parenthood, and the possibilities of love within histories of violence. Guillermo will also bring his late wife Y-Dang Troeung’s red Chinese stamp to sign copies of her memoir Landbridge on her behalf, as she wished he do.
About the book:
In Nimrods, Kawika Guillermo chronicles the agonizing absurdities of being a newly minted professor (and overtired father) hired to teach in a Social Justice Institute while haunted by the inner ghosts of patriarchy, racial pessimism, and imperial arrogance. Charged with the “personal is political” mandate of feminist critique, Guillermo honestly and powerfully recounts his wayward path, from being raised by two preachers’ kids in a chaotic mixed-race family to his uncle’s death from HIV-related illness, which helped prompt his parents’ divorce and his mother’s move to Las Vegas, to his many attempts to flee from American gender, racial, and religious norms by immigrating to South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Canada. Through an often crass, cringey, and raw hybrid prose-poetic style, Guillermo reflects on anger, alcoholism, and suicidal ideation—traits that do not simply vanish after one is cast into the treacherous role of fatherhood or the dreaded role of professor. Guillermo’s shameless mixtures of autotheory, queer punk poetry, musical ekphrasis, haibun, academic (mis)quotations, and bad dad jokes present a bold new take on the autobiography: the fake-punk self-hurt anti-memoir.
About the author:
Kawika Guillermo is a third generation Filipino American whose family is primarily from Hawai’i and Texas. He has lived in Portland, Las Vegas, Seattle, Gimhae South Korea, Nanjing China, Hong Kong, and Vancouver, Canada. His debut novel, Stamped: an anti-travel novel (2018), won the 2020 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Creative Prose, while his follow-up speculative fiction novel, All Flowers Bloom (2020), won the 2021 Reviewers Choice Gold Award for Best General Fiction/Novel. His first novel was recently adapted into the video game Stamped: an anti-travel game, released November 1st by Analgesic Productions.
About the guest reader:
David Chariandy is the author of Soucouyant, which was nominated for eleven literary awards, including the Governor General’s Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Brother, nominated for fourteen awards, winning the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Toronto Book Award. His most recent book is a memoir entitled I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter. David lives in Vancouver and teaches literature and creative writing at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, he received the Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction. In 2022, he was elected a fellow of the Academies of Arts, Humanities, and Sciences of Canada.
Also featuring discussion of:
The inaugural title from Alchemy by Knopf Canada: A searing account by an exquisite writer who came to Canada as a baby, escaping war in Cambodia.
In 1980, Y-Dang Troeung and her family were among the last of the 60,000 refugees from Cambodia that then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau pledged to relocate to Canada. As the final arrivals, their landing was widely documented in newspapers, with photographs of the PM shaking Y-Dang’s father’s hand, reaching out to pat baby Y-Dang’s head. Forty years later, in her brilliant, astonishing book, Y-Dang returns to this moment, and to many others before and after, to explore the tension between that public narrative of happy “arrival,” and the multiple, often hidden truths of what happened to the people in her family.
In precise, beautiful prose accompanied by moving black-and-white visuals, Y-Dang weaves back and forth in time to tell stories about her parents and two brothers who lived through the Cambodian genocide, about the lives of her grandparents and extended family, about her own childhood in the refugee camps and in rural Ontario, and eventually about her young son’s illness and her own diagnosis with a terminal disease. Through it all, Y-Dang looks with bracing clarity at refugee existence, refusal of gratitude, becoming a scholar, and love.
About Landbridge‘s author:
Y-Dang Troeung was Assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, where she did research and taught in the fields of transnational Asian literatures, critical refugee studies, global south studies, and critical disability studies. She was also an Associate Editor of the journal Canadian Literature, and a 2020 Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Her recent publications can be found in Canadian Literature, Brick: A Literary Magazine, Amerasia Journal, and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. Y-Dang passed away in November 2022, after completing the final draft of her extraordinary memoir, Landbridge. See also: http://www.y-dang.com/