The Lit Club


The Lit Club by NAE is a book club and living resource focused on literary works shedding light on the immigrant experience in its many forms. The goal is to introduce participants to a new and wide range of immigrant stories, exploring the variety of lived experiences.

We will announce Lit Club special selections, and invite you to read along with us. At the end of each book cycle, which will last 30-45 days, we will host a live discussion between the immigrant author and a very special moderator.

We have already compiled many great book recommendations, but we need your help. To submit your own NAE Lit Club book recommendation, please use this Google Form. These recommendations should all focus on the immigrant experience.

On Wednesday, April 21st at 7pm ET / 4pm PT, join us for a conversation with Roya Hakakian, author of our first Lit Club selection, A Beginner’s Guide to America. The conversation will be moderated by Vietnamese refugee, author, and friend of NAE Phuc Tran.

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Books standing up on their ends

Lit Club Special Selection

A Beginner’s Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious

by Roya Hakakian

A stirring, witty, and poignant glimpse into the bewildering American immigrant experience from someone who has lived it. Also, a mirror held up to America.

Into the maelstrom of unprecedented contemporary debates about immigrants in the United States, this perfectly timed book gives us a portrait of what the new immigrant experience in America is really like. Written as a “guide” for the newly arrived, and providing “practical information and advice,” Roya Hakakian, an immigrant herself, reveals what those who settle here love about the country, what they miss about their homes, the cruelty of some Americans, and the unceasing generosity of others. She captures the texture of life in a new place in all its complexity, laying bare both its beauty and its darkness as she discusses race, sex, love, death, consumerism, and what it is like to be from a country that is in America’s crosshairs. Her tenderly perceptive and surprisingly humorous account invites us to see ourselves as we appear to others, making it possible for us to rediscover our many American gifts through the perspective...More

About The Author

Roya Hakakian smiling to the camera Roya Hakakian

ROYA HAKAKIAN is the author of Assassins of the Turquoise Palace and Journey from the Land of No, and has published two collections of poetry in Persian. Her latest book, A Beginner’s Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious, will be published by Knopf in March 2021. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and on NPR's All Things Considered. She has collaborated on programming for leading journalism units in network television, including 60 Minutes. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and served on the editorial board of World Affairs. Since 2015, she has taught at THREAD, a writing workshop at Yale, and is a fellow at the Davenport College at Yale. She lives in Connecticut.

The selection of a book for this resource is not an endorsement of its content. We are committed to presenting as holistic a view of the immigration experience as possible.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…