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Electrifying. Thrillingly alive. Masterly. Critics and fans have been utterly absorbed by the winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction. Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise turns the idea of the past on its head as it interrogates the deeply resonating memories shaped by the formative years of high school. The story begins in the early 1980s, when two freshmen fall in love as they struggle and thrive in the rarified bubble of a highly competitive performing arts high school. Under the watch of their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley, the outside worlds of home life and other pressures never penetrate the students—until everything comes crashing down. The novel cleverly changes course reflecting back on a chain of events and begins to question the truths of the original narrative. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, Trust Exercise has arrived at the perfect moment of cultural reckoning. Choi, the bestselling author of four previous novels, including American Woman, a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, and My Education, winner of a Lammy Award, will discuss her captivating new novel that unpacks the moral complexities of storytelling. Wrestling with fiction and truth, adolescence and adulthood, responsibility and power, join us for a timely conversation that asks—who controls the narrative?

Susan Choi

Susan Choi is the author of the novels My EducationAmerican WomanA Person of Interest, and The Foreign Student. Her work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award and the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. With David Remnick, she co-edited Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn.

Danzy Senna

Danzy Senna is the author of five books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels Caucasia, Symptomatic, and most recently, New People, named one of the best books of the year by Time, Vogue and the New York Times. Senna is a recipient of the Whiting Award and the Dos Passos Prize for Literature. She teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

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