Past Event

Narrative as a Form of Power: Dialogue between Columbia’s Pulitzer-Winning Author and Chinese Writers

May 15, 2024
7:30 AM - 9:30 AM
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Columbia Global Center Beijing, 1F Core Plaza, No. 1 Shanyuan Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District



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Time: Wednesday, May 15, 7:30PM-9:30PM (Beijing)

Location: Columbia Global Center Beijing, 1F Core Plaza, No. 1 Shanyuan Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District

Language: Chinese

Trust has caused a reading craze across the United States and even globally since its release, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2023 and being shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2022. It has been selected as the best book of the year by more than 30 media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Times, and National Public Radio, and chosen as one of the 12 must-read books of the year by The New Yorker. It also prominently appeared on Obama's beloved book list in 2022.

What magic does this book possess? Upon reading it, you will find that author Hernan Diaz has masterfully crafted four "authors" following their different perspectives to repeatedly shape and deconstruct the "myth" of a billionaire and his mysterious wife. In this process, the image of the wife continuously moves from the periphery to the center.

The central theme of this novel is the attempt to control or monopolize narratives and the desire for wealth to change reality and create another reality. Although the protagonist of the novel lives in the early 20th century, it resonates with today's "post-truth" era.

"A central concern of Trust is how women have been, for the most part, suppressed from all the narratives spun around the capital. If given any role at all, it has been either that of wife or secretary—or victim. Trust takes these stereotypical roles, subverts them, and moves them from the periphery to the center of the narrative," says author Diaz.

Narrative is a form of power, and writers are those who understand it deeply. Columbia Global Center Beijing cordially invites you to join Hernan Diaz, who is visiting China for the first time and serving as the managing editor of Columbia's Latin American/Iberian Cultures, Luxun Prize-winning author XU Zechen, and distinguished female literary critic ZHANG Li to discuss this recently released Chinese edition of Trust, jointly published by Archipel Press and Shanghai Translation Publishing House.



Hernan Diaz

Hernan Diaz is the Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of two novels translated into thirty-five languages. He is the recipient of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, given to “a writer whose contributions to American literature have demonstrated consistent excellence.”

His first novel, In the Distance, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and it was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade.

Trust, his second novel, received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller, the winner of the Kirkus Prize, and longlisted for the Booker Prize, among other nominations. It was listed as a best book of the year by over thirty publications and named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and Time magazine, and it was one of The New Yorker’s 12 Essential Reads of the Year. One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2022, Trust is currently being developed as a limited series for HBO.

His stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Granta, The Yale Review, Playboy, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere.

He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.

He holds a PhD from NYU, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.


XU Zechen

Zechen Xu, born in 1978 in Donghai, Jiangsu Province, graduated from the Chinese Department of Peking University and is currently the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of "People's Literature" magazine. He is the author of novels such as "Northbound," "Jerusalem," and "Night Train," as well as short story collections, including "Running Through Zhongguancun" and "Beijing Suburban Stories." He has won numerous awards, including the Lu Xun Literature Prize, the Lao She Literature Award, and the China Good Book Award. Some of his works have been translated into over twenty languages, including English, French, German, and Spanish.


Li Zhang

Li Zhang is a professor and doctoral supervisor at the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing Normal University. She was voted one of the top ten favorite teachers by graduate students at Beijing Normal University's fifth "Most Popular Teachers" event and is the organizer of the "Keeper of the Micro-Fire: Best Books in Women's Literature" list. She is the author of several books. She has received awards, including the Lu Xun Literature Prize for Literary Theory and Criticism, the Outstanding Achievement Award in Chinese Women's Literature Research, and the Top Ten Good Books Award from the Book Power List. She serves as the vice director of the Prose Committee of the China Writers Association.



Yuning Huang

Yuning Huang is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Shanghai Translation Publishing House, Vice President of the Shanghai Translators Association, and Editor-in-Chief of "Foreign Literature." Her translations include " The Turn Of The Screw." In 2016, she won the Golden Translator Award at the Spring Wind Reading Festival. She is the author of essay collections such as "A Man's Castle" and "Details of the Novel," as well as short story collections like " 8½." "8½" won the first prize of the BLANCPAIN-IMAGINIST Literature Award.