Dickson Lam

Dickson Lam (CNF) | Oakland, CA

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Dickson Lam is the author of Paper Sons: A Memoir, winner of the 2017 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize. Lam’s work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, The Kenyon Review Online, Hyphen Magazine, The Normal School, PANK, The Good Men Project, The Rumpus, and Kartika Review. He is a VONA alum and has been a resident fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. He holds MFA degrees in creative writing from the University of Houston and Rutgers-Newark. Lam is an Assistant Professor of English at Contra Costa College and lives in Oakland with his wife and daughter.


Paper Sons: A Memoir (Autumn House Press, 2018). Memoir. CNF.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“What a superb, moving, tough, and courageous memoir. Lam has given us the gift of his heart.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winner

“From China to Hong Kong to San Francisco’s North Beach projects, Dickson Lam’s Paper Sons (and daughters) navigate the mysteries and betrayals of deleted and recovered memory, of tagging crews and migrant parents, of generational secrets. Dickson Lam’s unforgettable characters blaze like falling stars and illumine a world.”
—Jayne Anne Phillips, National Book Award finalist

“Lam’s memoir eloquently paints a portrait of immigrant experiences in a city that is superficially welcoming, but deeply hostile.”
—The Coil

“This is an important book, beautifully crafted, rich in poetic images and juxtapositions, that offers insight and compassion for a nation struggling to make sense of its immigrant nature.”
—Alison Hawthorne Deming, contest judge for Autumn House’s 2017 Nonfiction Prize

Paper Sons isn’t just a memoir, it’s a triumph.”
—Mat Johnson, author of Pym and Loving Day

“Highly recommended!”
—Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala

“This moving memoir…sheds fresh light on the Asian American immigrant experience….Paper Sons is an exhilarating debut.”
—Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

“Dickson Lam’s Paper Sons is a groundbreaking memoir….Lam creates three-dimensional portraits of people who have too often been silenced in our culture.”
—David Mura, author of Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei

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