Campus News

Noted author to deliver Betty Jean Craige Lecture

Viet Thanh Nguyen portrait-v
Viet Than Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 2015 novel The Sympathizer, will visit UGA Feb. 13 to give the comparative literature department’s annual Betty Jean Craige Lecture. He will also take part in a Feb. 14 public conversation hosted by the Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Nguyen’s Feb. 13 talk, “Nothing Ever Dies: Ethical Memory and Radical Writing in The Sympathizer,” is part of the Global Georgia Initiative of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, as well as the Signature Lecture Series. It will take place at 4 p.m. in the Chapel.

“Vietnam/War/Memory/Justice: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen” will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Larry Walker Room in Dean Rusk Hall. For full details, visit

The Sympathizer is the story of a double agent in the South Vietnamese army who flees with its remnants to America in 1975, continuing his efforts in the lost war amid the refugee community of Los Angeles. Nguyen’s 2016 follow-up, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, was shortlisted for a National Book Award in nonfiction. It examines how the memorialization of the Vietnam War by all of its participants helps to obscure important truths about war’s ravages of all humanity, and to hinder the true reconciliation that might prevent future conflicts.

A collection of short stories, The Refugees, is scheduled to be published Feb. 7. Nguyen will have public book signing events following his talk in the Chapel and at Avid Bookshop, 493 Prince Ave., Feb. 12 from 6-7 p.m.

Nguyen’s visit is co-sponsored by the comparative literature department, the Willson Center, the Dean Rusk Center for International Law, the President’s Venture Fund, the Office of the Dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of International Education and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

The Betty Jean Craige Lecture is named for Craige, University Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and a former director of the Willson Center. The Global Georgia Initiative presents global problems in local context with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene. The series is made possible by the support of private individuals and the Willson Center Board of Friends. The Signature Lecture Series highlights campus talks.