The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Photograph of Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Faculty 2020

About Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a novel, A River of Stars, a national bestseller and best books pick by NPR and the Washington Post, and a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. For two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. A Bay Area native, she works and teaches at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

Find Conference Sessions with Vanessa Hua

So, You Wrote Your First Book. Now What?
Ivelisse Rodriguez, Vanessa Hua, Andrea Avery, Cathy Linh Che, Justin Petropoulos

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Business of Writing, Publishing

You’ve written your first manuscript. Read it. Read it a hundred more times. Probably reread it until your eyes ache and the words blur on the page. You know every page by heart. Now what? Join authors Ivelisse Rodriguez, Vanessa Hua, and Andrea Avery as they talk about what to do with your first book, what to expect in looking for a publisher, and how to get started on your second manuscript.

Fund Your Writing Passion
Vanessa Hua

Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Business of Writing, Professional Development

This session will provide an overview of funding sources for your writing, including excerpts of successful project proposals and personal statements for artist funding opportunities and suggestions of how to make the most of your time during and after your fellowship/writers residency/or other creative space, whether it's one week or one year.

More About Vanessa Hua


---. "What They Shared.Deceit and Other Possibilities, 2016.

Lin would always belong to dirty and cramped Beijing but here she could give herself away. If she returned to China, she could already picture the rest of her life. A baby, living in high-rise apartments with her parents, she and Sang advancing toward middle management, growing old, and playing with her own grandchild someday. Comfortable but predictable. Here, there was discovery, uncertainty, possibility.

Aujla, Simmi. "That Balancing Act: A Conversation With Vanessa Hua." The Rumpus  

Writing for my hometown newspaper, both reporting about Asian-American issues and now as a columnist, I have a very palpable sense from the letters and emails I get. But I’m always so surprised and moved by who I might hear from as an author. I’ll hear from people who say: “This is my experience totally. I feel the shock of recognition.” And then there are people who say “I’m not Asian, I’m not a woman, I’m none of these things, but I am deeply moved by this and can relate to this on a human level.”

I remember getting a really lovely note from a reader who said, “I’m engaged to someone Korean and my brother is engaged to someone Italian. Immigration is part of our family story. Thank you for writing a book that helps illuminate my understanding about it.” I still haven’t gotten over the fact that people I don’t know are reading my fiction. Because at least with journalism, you know, it’s about the news. People need to read it or are supposed to read it. But fiction is totally optional.


Gan, Carolyn. "Deceit and Other Possibilities By Vanessa Huai." Fiction Writers Review, September 28, 2016.

Family, loyalty, love, lust: Vanessa Hua does justice to the big themes in this noteworthy debut. Yet she also succeeds by keeping it local; her city of San Francisco is a constant companion in these ten stories, lending her work authenticity and empathy. An award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Hua knows the immigrant communities that she writes about. She never resorts to ethnic caricatures. Instead, she writes her subjects’ stories as they must be told. Their choices, no matter how detrimental, are portrayed with understanding. And their deceptions, however dishonest, feel like the truth.