From Lawyer to Author: Charles Yu ’01 and Abigail Hing Wen ’04

Mar 2021

From Lawyer to Author: Charles Yu ’01 and Abigail Hing Wen ’04 explore their journeys from practicing law to writing critically acclaimed novels.

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How do you chart a path from law school to writing fiction? Two critically-acclaimed authors and CLS alumni talk about combining their legal training, personal experiences, and creative sparks into compelling novels.  Charles Yu’s National Book award-winning novel, Interior Chinatown, tells the story of a movie extra navigating the limited roles afforded to Asian actors. Abigail Hing Wen’s debut novel and New York Times bestseller, Loveboat, Taipei is a coming-of-age story of an 18-year-old Asian American woman transplanted from Ohio to Taiwan for the summer of adventure and self-discovery.  Both writers are joined by Annie Xie JD‘21, Rebecca Tan LLM’21, Long Dang JD’22, and Professor Ben Liebman to discuss their creative journeys. This event is organized by the Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies and co-sponsored by the Columbia Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), the Taiwanese Law and Culture Club, and Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

Abigail Hing Wen ’04 is the New York Times best selling author of Loveboat, Taipei, with its sequel forthcoming from HarperCollins 2022. Abigail worked in Washington, D.C. for the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a law clerk for a federal judge, and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence, including hosting the Intel AI Podcast with leading AI experts. She also earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Harvard. Abigail is serving as Executive Producer for the film adaptation of Loveboat, Taipei alongside ACE Entertainment, producers of To All the Boys I've Loved Before. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter or sign up for updates.

Charles Yu ’01 is the author of four books, including his latest, Interior Chinatown, which received the National Book Award for Fiction and was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He has received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, been nominated for two Writers Guild of America awards for his work on the HBO series Westworld, and has also written for shows on FX, AMC, Facebook Watch, and Adult Swim. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired, Time and Ploughshares

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Nick Pozek

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