On Wednesday night, about 400 literary genres packed into Pioneer Works, the sprawling art studio in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, for the kind of social ritual that’s barely been on the city’s calendar since the pandemic. begins: the book party relaxes.
Hua Hsu, a screenwriter for The New Yorker, celebrated the release of her debut book, “Stay True,” a 90s teen memoir chronicling committed friendships. bear with a Japanese-American brother named Ken. It’s arguably one of the most anticipated books of the season, and the New York literary scene follows suit, along with characters from every chapter of Hsu’s life.
Coated editorial staff from Pitchfork, GQ and The New Yorker sipping champagne from plastic cups near the franchise counter selling copies of the book and happily accepting the collage from Mr. Hsu’s young son, a Part of the guerrilla marketing campaign also included T-shirts, bandanas and zines.
Early arrivals include Jade Wong-Baxter, an agent and one of Mr Hsu’s former students at Vassar University, where he was an associate professor until this year. Joseph Monish Patel, a producer on “Summer of Soul,” took the photo. Elliot Kleinman, another former student, played covers of Nirvana with his band Earth Dad. Writer Emma Cline, who wears a bow in her hair, chats with Dustin Yellin, founder of Pioneer Works.
Mr Hsu, who wore an ombré button-up shirt and hiking sneakers, surveyed the crowd and called it “a real cross-section” of the people in his life, including his family. family, college friends, co-workers, members of his quarantine team. and former students.
Around 8 p.m., he took the stage with Lucy Sante, New York historian and cultural critic, for an hour-long conversation about how to evoke memories with moths, rediscovering self teenage body and writing strategies. (“I always try to figure out, ‘What’s the first sentence?’ When I’m driving,” he says.) Then he sat on the edge of the stage to sign books and take selfies.
Many in the line were former students such as Harrison Gable and Griffin Wells, both 22 years old, who had met during Mr. Hsu’s Asian-American literature course. Mr Gable described his former professor as “the most amazing person ever.”
In line with Roxy Chang, an amateur writer writing her mother’s memoirs. She had a lot of questions about his writing process.
“I can’t remember the last time a premiere felt like a proper party,” Vanity Fair reporter Delia Cai said before she attended a Carly Rae Jepsen concert.
Not everyone was looking for his signature, especially the editors, agents and publishing executives who helped turn Mr. Hsu into a literary phenomenon. “The majority of publishers turned down the book,” said Chris Parris-Lamb, Mr. Hsu’s representative at Gernert Company, who is incubating a Modelo in a landscaped yard around a fireplace.
Mr. Parris-Lamb was joined by Willing Davidson, Mr. Hsu’s editor at The New Yorker, and Thomas Gebremedhin, senior vice president and executive editor of Doubleday. Mr. Gebremedhin recalls receiving the manuscript amid the lockdown. “I was very lonely; I was very depressed; I was so scared,” he said. Hsu’s voice is “a guiding light,” he added.
Around 11 p.m., Mr. Hsu finally put down his pen after signing about 200 copies and joining the after-party at the San Pedro Inn down the block.
“When I was young,” says Mr. Hsu, “being right” was a certain fixed idea of who I could be. As I get older, it’s more important to let people into your life and let people complicate you, and allow your truth to be rewritten each time. “