Houston Matters

Susan Choi Draws On Houston Experiences To Win National Book Award

Choi tells Houston Matters how her experiences at HSPVA helped her craft her award-winning novel, Trust Exercise.

Former Houstonian Susan Choi at the 70th National Book Awards ceremony on Nov. 20, 2019.


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When Susan Choi attended Houston's Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, the last thing she wanted to be was in the spotlight.

Choi wanted to be behind the scenes, an observer from a distance. And so it was only natural that she'd ultimately become a writer.

And she drew on her experiences there while crafting her fifth novel, Trust Exercise.

The book takes place in the 1980s at a competitive performing arts school. It also deals with issues of sexual consent, and it won Choi a National Book Award in November of 2019.

In the audio above, Choi tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen about her time at HSPVA and how she found her way to a career in writing.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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