WOOSTER, Ohio – Thi Bui, a cartoonist and graphic novelist, will give The College of Wooster’s Peter Mortensen Lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m., in McGaw Chapel (303 E. University St.). Admission is free and open to the public.
Bui’s intimate and poignant graphic novel, “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir,” was the required summer reading for all first-year students at Wooster. Her memoir brings to life a far-ranging illustration of her family’s life in Vietnam amid the chaos of the Vietnam War, their refugee journey to the U.S., her childhood in California, and her present life building her own Vietnamese-American family. Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls the memoir “a book to break your heart and heal it.”
“The Best We Could Do,” a national bestseller, has won many awards including being named a 2017 National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection in 2017, and an American Library Association “Notable Book Selection” in 2018.
Bui categorizes herself as a cartoonist and her illustrations, including short comics, can be found online in Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California. She was the illustrator of “A Different Pond,” a children’s book by Bao Ohi that won a Caldecott Honor. She is currently researching and drawing a work of graphic nonfiction about how Asian-American Pacific Islanders are impacted by detention and deportation.
She received a bachelor of art degree from the University of California Berkeley and master’s degrees from both Bard College and New York University. Bui taught at a high school in New York City and was a founding teacher of Oakland International High School, the first public high school in California for recent immigrants and English learners, and is currently on the faculty of the comics program at the California College of Arts.
The Peter Mortensen Endowed Lecture Fund was established in 2006 with a gift from Peter Mortensen ’56. The fund supports public lectures and/or performances related to first-year seminar.
For more information, phone 330-263-2008.