A talk about ghosts — literal and figurative — and why I write about them. Including: My attempts at “translating” my Vietnamese family’s war stories through speculative short fiction. Exorcising my own ghosts while writing my novel, and the brief period of my life spent as the Central Highland’s worst independent paranormal investigator. Using the concept of spirit possession to contend with the horror of colonialism. Struggling to find my place within Diasporic Vietnamese writing, trying to situate myself instead on the map of women writers of the gothic, the weird, and the uncanny, from Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Bronte to Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter, and Carmen Maria Machado, and what I learned from the haunted houses in their own works.
Violet Kupersmith is the author of the novel BUILD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY and the short story collection THE FRANGIPANI HOTEL. She previously taught English with the Fulbright Program in the Mekong Delta and was a creative writing fellow at the University of East Anglia. She has lived in Da Lat and Saigon, Vietnam, and currently resides in the U.S.