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Lan Samantha Chang

The Family Chao

Lan Samantha Chang is the award-winning author of the collection Hunger and the novels Inheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. A recent Berlin Prize Fellow, she also has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Chang lives with her family in Iowa City, where she is director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

The Family Chao is a Dostoyevskian story of three brothers in Wisconsin who must contend with their charismatic, domineering, and highly flawed father, and the legacy he leaves behind. Overlooked by the residents of Haven, Wisconsin, aside from their ability to concoct delicious Americanized Chinese dishes, the Chaos become embroiled in a restaurant succession drama that ultimately leads to the murder of the deeply troubled patriarch, Leo Chao, and the subsequent passing of the gentle, kind matriarch, Winnie, two deaths which draw the exacting gaze of the entire town. When Dagou is accused of killing his father, the spotlight on the family (and the fate of the family dog) during the ensuing trial proves how alienated the Chaos are—no matter how American they might have thought themselves to be.

Sponsored in part by UA Little Rock School of Literary and Performing Arts

October 29, 11:30am - 12:30pm, Saturday

Speaker Schedule

Lan Samantha Chang + Oscar Hokeah

The Family Chao is a Dostoyevskian story of three brothers who must contend with their charismatic, domineering, and highly flawed father, and the legacy he leaves behind. Overlooked by the residents of Haven, Wisconsin, aside from their ability to concoct delicious Americanized Chinese dishes, the Chaos become embroiled in a restaurant succession drama that ultimately leads to the murder of the deeply troubled patriarch, Leo Chao, and the subsequent passing of the gentle, kind matriarch, Winnie, two deaths which draw the exacting gaze of the entire town.

In the debut novel Calling for a Blanket Dance, an exploration of the power of tribalism and its never-ending task to heal residuals of colonial violence, Ever Geimausaddle faces a series of opportunities to either heal generational trauma or intensify it. Through the call from matrilocal Kiowa, Cherokee, and Mexican familial voices, he must make choices to either strengthen his tribal communities or become a predator to his own people.

Sponsored in part by University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Ron Robinson Theater, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.