November 9 • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Donations Accepted
The Mark Twain House & Museum is delighted to host a homecoming of sorts with Hartford natives Kat Chow and Ocean Vuong (winner of the 2020 Mark Twain Prize for American Voice in Literature for his novel On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous) to discuss Chow’s haunting memoir, Seeing Ghosts. This event will be in-person only at The Mark Twain Museum Center.
SEE BELOW FOR COVID SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Kat Chow has always been unusually fixated on death. She worried constantly about her parents dying—especially her mother. A vivacious and mischievous woman, Kat’s mother made a morbid joke that would haunt her for years to come: when she died, she’d like to be stuffed and displayed in Kat’s future apartment in order to always watch over her.
After her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat, her sisters, and their father are plunged into a debilitating, lonely grief. With a distinct voice that is wry and heartfelt, Kat weaves together a story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America. Seeing Ghosts asks what it means to reclaim and tell your family’s story: Is writing an exorcism or is it its own form of preservation? The result is an extraordinary new contribution to the literature of the American family, and a provocative and transformative meditation on who we become facing loss.
COVID SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Please note for this event, we will be requiring guests to provide proof of vaccination or a a negative COVID test and to wear a mask throughout the program.
Proof of vaccination OR Negative Covid Test
- Please be prepared to show your physical vaccination card or a photo of your card.
- Those who are not eligible for the vaccine (children under 12) or need reasonable accommodation due to a medical exemption or a sincerely held religious belief, must provide proof of one of the following:
- Negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time, or
- Negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time.
Masks are required for all patrons regardless of vaccination status and must cover the mouth and nose except while eating or drinking in lobby spaces. Food and drinks will NOT be allowed in the theatre. If a patron does not have an acceptable mask, a mask will be provided.
Signed copies of Kat Chow’s Seeing Ghosts and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous will be available for purchase at the live event. Proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum.
About the author:
Kat Chow is a writer and a journalist, and the author of Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir. She was a reporter at NPR, where she was a founding member of the Code Switch team. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and on Radiolab, among others. She’s one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s fourth chairs. She’s received a residency fellowship from the Millay Colony and was an inaugural recipient of the Yi Dae Up fellowship at the the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat.
About the moderator:
Ocean Vuong is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 30 languages. A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.
Vuong’s writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Granta, Harpers, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, Interview, Poets & Writers, and The New Yorker.
Born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Hartford, Connecticut in a working class family of nail salon and factory laborers, he was educated at nearby Manchester Community College before transferring to Pace University to study International Marketing. Without completing his first term, he dropped out of Business school and enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Nineteenth Century American Literature. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry from NYU.
He currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts where he serves as an Associate Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.
Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program, with major support from The Travelers Foundation. For more information call 860-247-0998 or visit marktwainhouse.org.