Joseph Earl Thomas
Award-winning author of the coming-of-age memoir "Sink"
Cathy Linh Che
Poet, author, and executive director of Kundiman
Sink: A Coming-of-Age Memoir
BONUS AFTER-HOURS EVENT: Attendees who purchase a copy of Sink from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an AFTER-HOURS event hosted by Thomas and Che that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.
Stranded within an ever-shifting family’s desperate but volatile attempts to love, saddled with a mercurial mother mired in crack addiction, and demeaned daily for his perceived weakness, Joseph Earl Thomas grew up feeling he was under constant threat. Roaches fell from the ceiling, colonizing bowls of noodles and cereal boxes. Fists and palms pounded down at school and at home, leaving welts that ached long after they disappeared. An inescapable hunger gnawed at his frequently empty stomach, and requests for food were often met with indifference if not open hostility.
With remarkable tenderness and devastating clarity, Thomas explores how toxic masculinity and violence permeated the very fabric of his environment. Deemed too unlike the other boys to ever gain the acceptance he so desperately desired, he began to escape into fantasy and virtual worlds, where even in the depths of isolation there were unexpected moments of joy carved out. While reminiscing about the afternoon PlayStation adventures of Castlevania, sessions of practicing his best anime battle moves on his giggling little sister, and moments spent secretly devouring his favorite vampire novels, Thomas guides readers through a series of exacting yet nostalgic vignettes, eventually culminating in the first glimpses of kinship he caught on his journey to becoming a Pokémon master.
Thomas has an MFA in prose from the University of Notre Dame and is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. An excerpt of Sink won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, and Bread Loaf.
Thomas will be in conversation with Cathy Linh Che, author of Split, winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Best Poetry Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies.
This event suitable for youth 12+. It will be recorded and available on our website and YouTube channel.
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