Ocean Vuong: The 10 Books I Needed to Write My Novel

As a culture, we often fetishize the debut writer as some sort of self-arising wunderkind, someone that comes "out of nowhere" or had "splashed onto the scene" unannounced, seemingly without a pre-history or predecessors. This is compounded for writers of color, who seem, according to this narrative, to arrive at the literary table by "transcending" their cultural, economic or racial milieu into the hegemonic literati.