Award winning and pioneering Asian American writer David Wong Louie has died at the age of 63, reports the
Louie wrote a collection of short stories, Pangs of Love , in 1991 and won awards from the Los Angeles Times and and the literary journal Ploughshares for best first book. It also received honors from the NY Times Book Review as Notable Book of 1991.
His second book The Barbarians are Coming came out in 2000 and won the Association for Asian American Studies Prose Award in 2002.
“It is quite rare to find a great writer, an inspiring teacher, and a wonderful human being in the same body, but David Wong Louie was the embodiment of that exceptional combination,” said Ali Behdad, the John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature and the director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, said in a story published on UCLA’s website.
Louie’s final published essay, Eat Memory, came out this year and focused on his six years not being able to eat due to throat cancer, which ultimately claimed his life.
He worked at UCLA for both Asian American Studies and the English Department since 1992.
“To say that David Wong Louie is unique is to state the pure truth,” said the Los Angeles Times. “He has broken the silence of Chinese men in America.”
He is also credited with inspiring author Viet Thanh Nguyen who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for The Sympathizer.
“His stories read now as if they were written yesterday,” Mr. Nguyen wrote in a foreword for a forthcoming (updated) edition of Pangs of Love published by University of Washington Press. “They remain powerful, moving, relevant, urgent, and they persist in that way because of the author’s imagination, his capacity to tell a story, his wit and humor.”
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