Harlan and Lan Cao

in conversation with Isabel Allende

Recorded Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Add to Calendar 10/18/2020 04:00 PM 10/18/2020 05:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Harlan and Lan Cao Harlan and Lan Cao in conversation with Isabel Allende Sunday, October 18th, 2020 https://bookpassage.extendedsession.com/session/lan-cao/

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Harlan and Lan Cao in conversation with Isabel Allende

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Lan Cao’s dual first-person memoir, Family In Six Tones — co-authored with her American daughter Harlan Margaret Van Cao — explores their complicated relationship, culture clash and how they have grown both as individuals and as a family. 

Lan is a Vietnamese American writer who left Saigon for the U.S. as a refugee in 1975. She is the author of two other novels, Monkey Bridge and The Lotus and the Storm. Both novels tell the stories of Vietnamese refugees in America, set against the Vietnam War and its traumatic aftermath for those who are left with its haunting legacy. In both novels, the war is told from a Vietnamese American perspective.

Lan is also a professor of law and has taught at Brooklyn Law School, Michigan Law School, Duke Law School, William & Mary Law School. She is currently working at Chapman Law School in Orange, CA. She has written numerous articles on public international law, international trade, and rule of law development. Her book Culture in Law and Development: Nurturing Positive Change was published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

Isabel Allende —novelist, feminist, and philanthropist—is one of the most widely-read authors in the world, having sold more than 74 million books. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she won worldwide acclaim in 1982 with the publication of her hugely popular first novel, The House of the Spirits. In addition to her work as a writer, Allende devotes much of her time to human rights causes.

“How much, if at all, do we let go of grief, even as we proclaim the need to leave it in the past?” 

– Lan Cao, The Lotus and the Storm

Get ready to join Harlan and Lan in conversation, Sunday, October 18th.

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  • 2

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

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    What are the mechanics of your writing process? Pen/pencil? paper/computer? Do you always write in one place?

  • 2

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    Your work is very much tied to history – political and personal. How is history important to you as a writer? What is your research process like?

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    What advice do you have for young writers?

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    What are you working on now?

  • 1

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    What authors have inspired your writing style?

  • 1

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    What is the last thing you saw or heard that moved you?

  • 1

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    How is your writing influenced by your law career and teaching?

  • 1

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    What is literature’s role in documenting war? Why did you choose to write about war?

  • 1

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    What inspired you to write “Monkey Bridge”?

  • 1

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    You’re a lawyer by training. What made you decide to start writing? Have you always been a writer?

  • 0

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    How do you navigate the English/Spanish language worlds? Any advise to less known authors on reaching the English readers?

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    What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

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    are you working in a book at this time?

  • 0

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    In your own literary work, who is your favorite character, and why?

  • 0

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    How did your experience at Mount Holyoke College influence your law career and your writing?

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    How old were you when you came to the US, and how do you think yoor US education (especially MHC) affected your understanding of American culture?