Forum From the Archives: With Zines and Mixtapes, Writer Hua Hsu Found Identity, Friendship, and Consolation

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Hua Hsu (Photo by Devlin Claro)

When New Yorker writer Hua Hsu was growing up in Cupertino in the 1990s as the only child of Taiwanese immigrants, he created mixtapes and zines – homemade Xerox pastiches of writing, photos and collages – as a “way to find a tribe.” Hsu’s search for his people eventually led him to UC Berkeley where he, a lover of esoteric and undiscovered bands, forged an unlikely friendship with Ken, a Japanese-American frat boy whose love of the Dave Matthews Band, initially repelled Hsu. That friendship and Ken’s murder are at the heart of Hsu’s new memoir “Stay True,” which documents the profound and the mundane moments of a 90s kid seeking to forge his identity.

This segment originally aired Nov. 2. 


Hua Hsu, author, "Stay True;" staff writer, the New Yorker; professor of Literature, Bard College