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Gish Jen: Politics & Possibility

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Hugo House Capitol Hill
Thurs Feb 20, 7 pm


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Recommended by Rich Smith

For the first time in her writing career, Jen is writing not about the country's past or present but rather about its near future, a pretty plausible dystopian place called AutoAmerica. In this country, a brutal immigration policy has booted all immigrants and runaway automation has wiped out most of the workforce, splitting citizens into two groups. The Surplus, who are mostly brown and non-Christian and live on houseboats (thanks, climate change) under heavy surveillance, while the Netted enjoy good jobs on dry land. At the center of the story is a family who is fighting to save some semblance of the American dream. Grant, a former teacher, and Eleanor, a former lawyer and activist, have a kid named Gwen, who was born with a golden arm. As the family works to support Gwen's future, they face a hostile government looking to capitalize on their kid's talents—and not necessarily for the good. At her Hugo House lecture, Jen will argue, in part, that fiction allows us to imagine our future with more emotional clarity than other genres.

Hugo House

1634 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

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This event is in the past.
  • Thurs Feb 20, 7 pm