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I'm Thu. I'm a freelance writer and critic currently based in Tokyo. I write about art, books, and occasionally TV. I've written about adults coloring and women defending themselves. Also circles, commas, and the letter "g." 


Previously I was the books reporter for Quartz and context editor at TED. I also cofounded TEDxNewYork and was the executive producer of its first two flagship events. My debut novel, Hail Caesar, was published in 2007 by Scholastic/PUSH and was named an NYPL Book for the Teen Age.

I'm the grateful recipient of a 2021 Blakemore Freeman Fellowship for the study of advanced Japanese. Previously I was an Atlantic Media fellow and a Fulbright grantee in Turkey.

Here's a selection of my writing. Stories were published on Quartz except where noted:


Bolivia’s most Instagrammable houses showcase indigenous peoples’ reclaimed power


We can chip away at rape culture by teaching girls emotional self-defense

A keeper of seeds hopes to save the world from starvation (TED Ideas)

Reviews and criticism:

The Incendiaries, by R.O. Kwon (The New York Times Book Review)

Heaven, by Mieko Kawakami (The Washington Post)

The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis


The Death of Truth, by Michiko Kakutani


Barracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston

HBO's My Brilliant Friend


Netflix/Sanrio's Aggretsuko

Diane Nguyen was BoJack Horseman’s most flawed character, and its most important (Slate)


Ai Weiwei/Herzog and de Mueron's
"Hansel & Gretel"


teamLab Reconnect: Art with rinkan sauna (ArtReview Asia)


Forty-one years ago, the US took a big gamble on Vietnamese refugees

Traveling with my parents taught me growing up is not growing old (Catapult)

The art of stillness in the Japanese wilderness (TED Ideas)


The case for taking forever to finish reading books

Reporting on language:

How do you draw a circle? We analyzed 100,000 drawings to show how culture shapes our instincts

A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of an Oxford comma

Nearly every country on earth is named after
one of four things

Germany has ended a century-long debate
over a missing letter in its alphabet


Quiz: Can you recognize the letter “G”?

Reporting on book publishing:

Are ebooks dying or thriving? The answer is yes

Amazon has everything it needs to make
massively popular algorithm-driven fiction

Maverick women writers are upending the book industry and selling millions in the process​

A first-time author unwittingly exposed
the house of cards beneath “bestseller” books

America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

America’s obsession with adult coloring
is a cry for help

Thanks for stopping by.