Pulitzer Prize winning author Adam Johnson says: “Human research is everything.” That’s the secret of success the National Book Award winner shared with college students and voracious readers during his visit to Hong Kong and Macau in mid-March. Mr. Johnson was a featured speaker at the Macau Literary Festival, which sought to accommodate the diverse population of Macau by offering talks for readers of four different spoken languages — Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.
Mr. Johnson engaged the Festival’s audience by sharing his research and writing insights from work on his 2013 Pulitzer-Prize winner The Orphan Master’s Son at a public talk held in the historic Court Building. In Hong Kong, he talked about his book Fortune Smiles, a collection of short stories that won the 2015 National Book Award. In contrast to giving voice to characters in a fictionalized story set in North Korea, Mr. Johnson’s latest stories draw from his personal observations. He shared how writing allowed him to work through personal issues such as his wife’s illness and a friend’s death.
For the 100 total students at the University of Macau, HK Baptist University, and Hong Kong University, Professor Johnson showed what his students at Stanford might experience in one of his creative writing classes. His advice to creative writing students? Art can make meaning of your lives. Follow your interest, research deeply, and write to discover.