On Religion, Feminism, and writing Korean-American Characters: An Interview with R. O. Kwon

In her powerful debut novel The Incendiaries, R.O. Kwon explores the grief that comes with losing religious faith, abortion center bombings, cults, and first love through startlingly inventive prose. Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall are college students in love when John Leal, an elusive and charming religious fanatic, enters their lives. As John draws Phoebe into his cult, her relationship with Will begins to fray. Instead of telling this story in chronological order, The Incendiaries shifts the reader’s expectations by opening with an act of violence committed by the cult. As Will tries to retrace Phoebe and John’s steps, the reader joins him, confronting questions about god, terrorism, faith, and how well one can know another person along the way. I first met R.O. Kwon in early 2017 at a dinner for Korean-American writers at AWP, and I distinctly remember how kind she was. She and I were seated next to each other, and we bonded over Korean food and our recently sold debut novels. I had been nervous about not knowing the other writers, of feeling out of place in the literary world. Kwon put me at ease immediately. She is a true literary advocate, generous soul, and brilliant...
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New York fam, Join us tomorrow at the 14th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice. A day to celebrate, commemorate, and continue fighting. Apogee Journal is a proud sponsor of TDOA and an advocate for the right to gender self-determination free from fear and socio-economic oppression. To participate, come to Christopher Street Pier, Pier 45 on Manhattan’s West Side, tomorrow, Friday, June 22, from 4-7pm. More details here: https://alp.org/events/TDOA2018
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