We need to tell diverse, messy, complicated stories—not only to achieve crucial representation in media, but also to help us figure out who we are and what is possible. In his bestselling memoir Stay True, named a Best Book of the Year everywhere from TIME to Pitchfork, Hua Hsu explores Asian-American identity and the importance of storytelling, plus grief, pop culture, and how friendship helps us discover who we are (among many other themes).
“Both a coming-of-age story and an evolutionary step for Asian American literature.”
Our identities—as individuals and as communities—are ambiguous and difficult to define. But Hua, whom The New York Times called a “literary phenomenon,” says that’s actually a good thing. We need to tell diverse stories about ourselves and our communities, because storytelling broadens the scope of what we believe is possible. We can find community in people who are different from us, and open up new futures to build together.
Hua’s memoir Stay True is a national bestseller that tells the story of Hua’s university friendship with Ken, another Asian-American student. It touches on culture, the immigrant experience, and figuring out who we are. It has been named a Best Book of the Year on virtually every list that matters (TIME, Kirkus, New York Times, Pitchfork). New York Times bestselling author Jia Tolentino called it a “once-in-a-lifetime book.” In talks, Hua draws on his memoir to show us how we can embrace diversity, find community, and achieve true inclusion.
“We should all feel welcome to belong, and we should also dwell on spaces of unbelonging,” Hua tells Lavin. “But we aren’t alone, and we never have been.”
Watch Hua explain why Asian-American identity is always changing—and why that’s actually good for us: