The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hua Hsu to UGA March 20-21, 2024 as the annual Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding. His visit is part of the Willson Center’s Global Georgia public event series and the UGA Humanities Festival.
The main public event of Hsu’s residency will be a reading and conversation with Ed Pavlić, Distinguished Research Professor of English, African American studies, and creative writing, in the Georgia Museum of Art at 5:30 p.m. on March 21. He will also visit with students at UGA and at Clarke Central High School, as well as participate in a public zine-making workshop in the Delta Innovation Hub at 4 p.m. on March 20, which will include a conversation with Gerald Maa, director and editor of The Georgia Review. The full program of Delta Visiting Chair events is presented in partnership with the Center for Asian Studies and The Georgia Review.
“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of so many amazing thinkers and writers who have previously visited the University of Georgia as Delta Chairs,” Hsu said. “I’m excited to meet everyone in March. And, as a music fan long enamored with all the great bands that formed while studying at UGA, I’m particularly thrilled to finally see Athens for myself.”
Hsu’s memoir Stay True won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Memoir or Autobiography and the 2022 National Book Critics Circle award in autobiography. It was named a best book of the year by more than a dozen major publications and outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, TIME, The Atlantic, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and NPR.
Hsu is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He began creating zines about music, film, literature and other arts and cultural topics while in his teens and currently publishes Suspended in Time, which he describes as “a series of zines about music and life + an occasional record label.” He was named a finalist for the James Beard Award for Food Writing in 2013, and serves as a judge for literary competitions and fellowships including the PEN America Literary Awards. He serves on the boards of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Critical Minded.
He is also the author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific, published in 2016 by Harvard University Press, and his scholarly work has been published in American Quarterly, Criticism, PMLA, and Genre. Hsu is professor of literature at Bard College, where he teaches classes on Asian American studies, transpacific studies, critical ethnic studies, popular culture and subculture, and literary nonfiction.
Hsu was nominated to be considered for the Delta Visiting Chair by Jamie Kreiner, professor of history and senior associate dean for the humanities in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, after conversations among members of the UGA Humanities Council, which organizes the Humanities Festival. Kreiner sits on the council, as does Timothy Yang, associate professor of history and director of the Center for Asian Studies.
“I have admired Hua Hsu’s writing for many years,” Yang said. “It seems like he is an expert on everything, but I think what he really has is a keen eye for observation and an ability to render every nuance he sees into precise – and seemingly effortless – prose. His writing makes you think and can also make you cry or burst out laughing.”
The Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding, established by the Willson Center through the support of The Delta Air Lines Foundation, hosts outstanding global scholars, leading creative thinkers, artists, and innovators who engage with audiences on and off the UGA campus through lectures, seminars, discussions, and other community events. The Delta Chair program aims to foster conversations that engage with global perspectives through the humanities and arts. The chair was last held by famed operatic soprano and advocate for representation in music Angela Brown in February 2023.
The Delta Chair is founded upon the legacy of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, which from 1997-2011 was presented to individuals – including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter – whose initiatives promoted world peace by advancing understanding and cooperation among cultures and nations.