On the ShelfWriter Hua Hsu on faxes and friendship.

On the ShelfWriter Hua Hsu on faxes and friendship.

Issue 50

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  • Words Suyin Haynes
  • Photograph Marco Galloway

New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu began writing his Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir Stay True 25 years ago, even if he didn’t realize it at the time. “It wasn’t writing that I necessarily thought would become a book someday,” says Hsu. He started recording his thoughts the night he heard that his best friend, Ken, had been murdered in a senseless act of violence while the pair were college students at the University of California, Berkeley. “It was just my own method of coping.” 

Stay True is a beautiful tribute to a formative friendship and led Hsu in surprising directions. “It was very unexpected to end up in a place that felt far more hopeful than I thought would be possible when I set out to write back in 1998,” Hsu says on a video call from upstate New York. There we...

ISSUE 52

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