In the New Yorker’s 2010 “20 Under 40” list, a compilation of emerging writers to watch, nearly half of the authors named were foreign-born. The list illuminated a trend the Vilcek Foundation has long championed: the important role immigrant artists play in shaping the American voice, in literature as well as other aspects of the arts. To extend our celebration of these artists and further explore their role on the American literary scene today, on the evening following our annual awards gala, on April 4, we hosted a reading and Q&A panel at, and in conjunction with, the Housing Works Bookstore Café, featuring the winner and finalists of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature—Dinaw Mengestu, Ilya Kaminsky, Téa Obreht, Vu Tran, and Simon Van Booy. Liesl Schillinger, a member of the jury for the prize and a literary critic for The New York Times, moderated the panel.
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