Vanessa Hua: Telling Untold Stories at UCR’s Writers Week

Hua, a UCR alumna, will be on campus on Feb. 15

Vanessa Hua, author, journalist and UCR alumna, will be reading from her book during UCR’s annual Writers Week. courtesy

As a journalist, Vanessa Hua spent around two decades travelling through China, Burma, Ecuador, South Korea and more—revealing the untold stories and struggles beyond the United States. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Hua is no stranger to cultural disparity and the constant search for personal identity. This inquisitiveness weaves through the stories of Hua’s debut short story collection, “Deceit and Other Possibilities.”

On Feb. 15, Hua, a UC Riverside alumna, award-wining journalist and writer, will be one of many talented voices to speak at UCR’s 40th Annual Writers Week. “Deceit and Other Possibilities” was recently awarded the 2016 Asian/Pacific American Award of Literature. The award-giving body said Hua’s way with words “allow the reader into the lives of her characters and allows us to explore the struggle of one’s identity, choice, and the idea of otherness.”

“Deceit and Other Possibilities” was written to shine a light on immigrant families navigating a new America, Hua said.

“The stories from the novel follow a myriad of different, wild situations, each one unique to every character’s journey. From a Hong Kong movie idol fleeing a sex scandal, to an obedient daughter turned Stanford pretender, from a Chinatown elder summoned to his village, to a Mexican boy who suspects his mother has found love elsewhere, the characters in the collection illustrate the conflict between self and society, tradition and change,” Hua said.

Hua, who leads writing workshops at the San Francisco’s Writer’s Grotto— a community of poets, playwrights, film makers, novelists, and journalists—says teaching the craft is rewarding on many levels. “So many wonderful writers have shared their recommendations, advice, and knowledge with me, and I love being able to return that favor by teaching workshops or giving lectures.  Students are inspiring too, offering important perspectives I hadn’t considered and teaching me to look at creative writing in new ways.”

A graduate of the UCR Creative Writing MFA program, Hua also has fond memories of Writers Week at UCR.  “I loved Writers Week. The authors were inspiring,” she said.

At her talk on Feb. 15, she will discuss her journey when writing “Deceit and Other Possibilities.” “I hope that attendees might come away from my talk with a deeper understanding of the immigrant experience, an interest in reading more of my work, and get fired up about their own projects,” she said.

Vanessa Hua’s appearance at  Writers Week is scheduled for Feb. 15, 3:30 p.m. at CHASS Interdisciplinary Building, South – Screening Room, 1128.

Other UCR authors and alumni:

  • Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, the 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow, has written numerous books and edited many poetry anthologies. Books published by Coffee House Press include: “Streaming,” which won the Pen Southwest Book Award in Poetry, Wordcrafter of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award NWCA, IPPY Medal; “Off-Season City Pipe,” which earned Wordcraft Writer of the Year in Poetry honors; and “Dog Road Woman,” recipient of the American Book Award. She is a distinguished professor of creative writing at UCR.
  • Fred  Moten, who is the author of “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition” (University of Minnesota Press), “Hughson’s Tavern” (Leon Works), “B. Jenkins” (Duke University Press), “The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions), and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study” (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia). He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a National Book Award in Poetry. He is a professor of English at UCR.
  • Emily Rapp Black, who wrote “Poster Child: A Memoir and The Still Point of the Turning World” (Penguin Books), which was a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist for the PEN Center Literary Award in Nonfiction. She has received awards and recognition for her work from, among others, The Atlantic Monthly, StoryQuarterly, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation (Emerging Writer Award), and the Jentel Arts Foundation. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at UCR.
  • Natashia Déon is a recipient of the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellowship and author of the critically acclaimed novel, “Grace” (Counterpoint Press). An attorney, writer, law professor, and creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit, Deón was recently named one of L.A.’s “Most Fascinating People” by L.A. Weekly. Deón has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Prague’s Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, B O D Y and other places. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside–Palm Desert.
  • Ruth Nolan’s debut poetry chapbook, “Ruby Mountain,” was published in 2016. Her short story, “Palimpsest” was published in LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers (2016), and won an Editor’s Reprint Honorable Mention award from Sequestrum Magazine, 2016. Her writing has also been published in James Franco Review, Angels Flight Literary West, Rattling Wall, Desert Oracle, Women’s Studies Quarterly; New California Writing, Lumen, Pacific Review, The Desert Sun and elsewhere. Her nonfiction book, “Fire On the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California” is forthcoming in 2017. She’s also the editor of No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California’s Deserts (2009). A former wildland firefighter for the USFS and BLM, Ruth is Professor of English, Creative Writing and Native American literature at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the UCR, Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program.

All presentations will take place at CHASS Interdisciplinary Building, South – Screening Room, 1128. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information: UCR 40th Writers Week.


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