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Charles Yu's 'Interior Chinatown' wins National Book Award for Fiction

November 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Charles Yu won the National Book Award for Fiction on Wednesday night with his novel "Interior Chinatown," a satire about typecasting and racism in Hollywood.

Author and TV writer Charles Yu won the National Book Award for Fiction on Wednesday night with his novel "Interior Chinatown," a satire about typecasting and racism in Hollywood.

The novel, published in January by Pantheon Books, follows an Asian film actor stuck in the background roles of "Generic Asian Man" or "Delivery Guy" with very few lines, while yearning to one day become the "Kung Fu Guy. "

In a virtually-streamed ceremony, the 2020 judging committee praised the book, which was written in the form of a screenplay, as a "wonderfully inventive work. "

"By turns hilarious and flat-out heartbreaking, Charles Yu's 'Interior Chinatown' is a bright, bold, gut punch of a novel," said the judges' statement.

When accepting the award on camera, Yu was visibly surprised, laughing in disbelief.

Yu's previous works include the science-fiction novel "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" and two collections of short stories.

Yu's win was met with celebration within literary circles as well as the Asian American and Asian diaspora community, with prominent figures congratulating him on the award.

"INTERIOR CHINATOWN is hilarious, poignant, and painfully relevant," tweeted Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American novelist who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

"I can't express enough how Interior Chinatown feels both familiar and subversive, how I saw myself and my friends and my relatives on every page, how it interrogates the mainstream narrative about being Asian in North America," she tweeted.

Established in 1950, the National Book Award is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States.

Each year the National Book Foundation presents awards to winners in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people's literature categories.

The other finalists for the fiction category included Rumaan Alam's "Leave the World Behind," Lydia Millet's "A Children's Bible," Deesha Philyaw's The Secret Lives of Church Ladies," and Douglas Stuart's "Shuggie Bain. "

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