Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown Selected for One Book One Region 2021

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

This year’s read for One Book One Region will be Interior Chinatown, written by Charles Yu. The book will be formally introduced at a virtual kickoff event on June 24 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a presentation on the book’s themes by Ayako Takamori, assistant professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Yu will join the southeastern Connecticut community for a planned in-person event this fall.

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction in 2020, Interior Chinatown borrows from the dystopian worldview of the HBO television series, Westworld, for which he served as a writer. The book is written in the form of a screenplay, telling the story of an aspiring Asian actor who discovers the secret history of Chinatown and the buried legacy of his family. 

“Through the story’s many layers, Yu offers us a poignant picture on the role of family in shaping identities; a lacerating satire on American popular culture; and a critique of the external stereotyping and the internalized racism that have defined the experience of Asian Americans for almost 200 years,” said Jefferson Singer, dean of the college and Faulk Foundation Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College. “This book will launch an important conversation with our community at a time when the country is reckoning with the treatment of and discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.”

Yu graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998 with a degree in molecular biology and a minor in creative writing. He went on to earn a J.D. from Columbia University and practiced corporate law before eventually returning to his creative work as a fiction writer and story editor for Westworld, where his work was nominated for two Writers Guild of America awards. Yu is the author of four books and has written for shows on FX, AMC, Facebook Watch and Adult Swim. His fiction and non-fiction works have appeared in a number of publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired, Time and Ploughshares.

One Book One Region of Eastern Connecticut is now in its 19th year. This is the sixth year that Connecticut College has partnered with this initiative to bring community members and the college community together to discuss ideas, broaden appreciation of reading and break down barriers among people. In addition to this year's selection of Interior Chinatown, previous summer read selections were Crazy Brave by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo; Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka; Exit West by Mohsin Hamid; and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

One Book One Region is made possible through the Libraries of Eastern CT, the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Waterford Walmart and Connecticut College’s Office of the President. Bank Square Books arranged for the purchase of Interior Chinatown for the Class of 2025 and their advisers.

Registration for this event is required. Visit to register and learn more about upcoming programming.

June 14, 2021