Cover Photo: On the left is a photograph of Joseph Han's novel, Nuclear Family. On the right is a photo of Han, standing against a red brick wall and looking into the camera.
Photograph by Huan He and courtesy of the author; book jacket via Counterpoint

Joseph Han Writes From, and for, Community

In this interview, Joseph Han discusses his debut novel ‘Nuclear Family,’ being in conversation with Korean American literature, and writing from a place of abundance.

Nuclear Family

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Alyssa Lo: First, congratulations on the release of . How does it feel for the book to be out in the world?

AL: What have you found most surprising about the writing, editing, and publishing processes?

AL: It’s such a rich book. Something that really struck me is how polyphonic it is. When I was reading, I thought, “Wow, this is really great, but from a writing perspective, ‘Oh my god, how did they do that?’” I’d love to hear more about what that plotting process looked like.

AL: Talking about place, I think the rendering of space is just so incredible in the book. When you introduced the restaurant, I knew exactly where on Ke‘eaumoku it was. That was really fun and delightful to me. What was it like rendering place?

AL: On the topic of the restaurant, I’d love to hear more about what it was like writing about food and what role food played in your process when writing this book.

AL: Staying with the idea of community, earlier you described the Chos as troubling the idea of the nuclear family and looking at larger communities in terms of the characters within the novel. You said that a lot of the editorial process started alongside the pandemic, so I would love to hear more about your community while writing but also who you see this work in conversation with.

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AL: This is a bit of a spoiler, but I would love to hear more about your thoughts on using the speculative as a way to imagine more liberatory futures.

AL: You’re also a teacher. How does teaching inform your writing and vice versa?

AL: Who do you hope reaches?

Alyssa Lo is a poet & writer exploring the expansiveness of language and the speculative as a way to understand the present with work in or forthcoming fromCatapult  and Strange Horizons. Originally from Hawai'i, Alyssa is now based in New York.