Sunil Yapa will give reading at Nittany Lion Inn

Novelist and Penn State alum Sunil Yapa will visit University Park on March 21-22. During his visit, Yapa will participate in two free public events: a discussion of his novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, to be held Wednesday, March 21, at 7:00 pm, at the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium, and a reading at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, in the Nittany Lion Inn’s Alumni Lounge.

Sunil Yapa is a State College native who received his BA from Penn State and his MFA in Fiction from Hunter College in New York City in 2010, where he was a Hertog Fellow for Zadie Smith. The biracial son of a Sri Lankan father and a mother from Montana, Yapa has lived around the world, including, Greece, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, China, and India, as well as, London, Montreal, and New York City. He currently lives in Central Pennsylvania and teaches in low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.

Yapa’s debut novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (2016) is set in Seattle, Washington, where in November of 1999, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest the World Trade Organization conference being held at the city’s convention center. The book was selected as a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and found its way onto many “best” lists, including Time Magazine’s Best Books of the Year, Amazon Best Books of the Year, Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers, and Washington Post Notable Books. Of the novel, Ron Charles of The Washington Post writes: “A fantastic debut novel…. What is so enthralling about this novel is its syncopated riff of empathy as the perspective jumps around these participants—some peaceful, some violent, some determined, some incredulous…. Yapa creates a fluid sense of the riot as it washes over the city. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist ultimately does for WTO protests what Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night did for the 1967 March on the Pentagon, gathering that confrontation in competing visions of what happened and what it meant.”

The March 21 discussion is part of the slate of events for the Center for American Literary Studies (CALS)/Centre County Reads 2018 Community Read of Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist. (Information about additional events related to the Community Read can be found at and

The March 22 reading is part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series, a project of Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English. It receives generous support from the College of the Liberal Arts, the Department of English, the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment, the Mary E. Rolling Lectureship in Creative Writing, and the University Libraries. (For more information on the reading series, visit:

Sunil Yapa Discussion and Reading, March 21 & 22

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