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Clemson Literary Festival to host Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen will be in Clemson this Thursday, March 30.
Nguyen, along with other nationally acclaimed authors, will headline the 10th Clemson Literary Festival (CLF), a student-organized event that will take place from March 29 to April 1.
The CLF began in 2008 as a Creative Inquiry created by professors Keith Morris and Dr. Wayne Chapman. Since then, the festival has hosted an impressive range of celebrated writers including former Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and, most recently, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic. This year, Morris and creative writing professor John Pursley have collaborated with the student organizers to choose a selection of talented, diverse authors.
Miriam McEwen, a senior English major, has worked with the festival for three years now. Regarding her favorite aspect of her position as a student organizer, she said, “I think the sense of community among the professors and the students that we build by the end of the year, as well as the opportunity to learn about the importance of contemporary literature from those who are in the thick of things.”
This year looks to bring another strong lineup of authors, headlined by Nguyen. In addition to his position as the Aerol Arnold Chair of English at the University of Southern California, Nguyen recently won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel “The Sympathizer.” His nonfiction work, “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War,” is currently a finalist for the National Book Award.
In response to the headliner, Preston Taylor Stone, a senior English major and student organizer, said, “I am most excited to see Viet Thanh Nguyen. He is the most recent Pulitzer Prize Winner. His fiction is literary, historical, political — everything fiction should be. He makes me want to be a better writer.”
As a celebration of the humanities and written arts, the CLF aims to bring together Clemson faculty, staff, students and community members.
Senior English and communications double major Kristina Toney said, “I’ve always thought it was a beautiful thing to bring a community together through the arts, and so I love being a part of something that connects people in that way.”
McEwen added to the sentiment, saying, “It’s a culmination of not only the skills but also the principles of what it means to be a student of English in that the festival is intended to be a platform for diverse voices.”
Beyond Nguyen’s reading, the festival will feature various other events including a poetry slam, an author roundtable, book signings and other readings at different on-campus and downtown locations.
A full schedule of events can be found at and other updates may be found on the Clemson Literary Festival Facebook page.

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