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Charles Yu won the National Book Awards 2020 for Fiction

Charles Yu (Photo © Tina Chiou)

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu wins the National Book Award for Fiction.

Charles Yu has won the National Book Award for Fiction for his novel Interior Chinatown, a deeply affecting and hilarious novel about race, assimilation and popular culture.

The novel, published in November by Europa Editions (and in US by Pantheon Books), is written in the form of a screenplay and follows an Asian film actor stuck in the background roles of "Generic Asian Man" while yearning to one day become the "Kung Fu Guy."

In a virtually-streamed ceremony, the judges praised the book, as a "wonderfully inventive work."

"By turns hilarious and flat-out heartbreaking, Charles Yu's 'Interior Chinatown' is a bright, bold, gut punch of a novel," said the judges' statement. When accepting the award on camera, Yu was visibly surprised, laughing in disbelief. "I can't feel anything in my body right now. I prepared nothing, which tells you about how realistic I thought this was," he said, quipping that it all felt like a simulation.

"I will probably just stop talking now," he added. "I'm going to go melt into a puddle right now."

Europa publisher Eva Ferri who acquired Interior Chinatown said:

“We are beyond happy for this important recognition of Charles Yu’s marvellous work of fiction. A richly deserved win, it happens at a time when so many books struggle to find readers, and it inspires hope. I encourage everyone to buy Interior Chinatown from their local bookshop or from”

Watch the recorded ceremony here:

(the Fiction award announcement is about 1.45 minutes in)