Q&A: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ reflects on libraries, UC Berkeley, and the class that ‘radicalized’ him

April 12, 2024

Viet Thanh Nguyen emerged from UC Berkeley with more than a diploma.

In fact, he earned three (but who’s counting?) — dual bachelor’s degrees in English and ethnic studies in 1992, and a doctorate in English in ’97.

But his education wasn’t confined by the walls of a classroom.

Nguyen became steeped in activism, leaving Berkeley with “four misdemeanors, three diplomas, two arrests, and an abiding belief in solidarity, liberation, and the power of the people and the power of art,” he recalls in his memoir, 2023’s A Man of Two Faces.

Berkeley Library