• On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Let’s Talk About It - The LGBTQIA Community

The Alumni Association has established a Social Justice Series within its Book Club program called “Let’s Talk About It.” The series is meant to engage community members in conversations regarding a particular social theme. A selection of books was voted on and three of them were chosen for this series called The LGBTQIA Community. We gather a group of panelists who have read the book to drive the conversation. As a participant, you do not necessarily have to have read the book to engage in the discussion as the conversation tends to grow beyond the book. Participants are encouraged to submit comments and questions.

The panelists are:

  • Craig McKinney ’91, Coordinator - Professional Learning, Plano Independent School District, President-Elect, Southwestern University Alumni Council
  • Jennifer Leach, Director of Advising and Retention, Southwestern University
  • Jim Croxford ’83, Programme Manager, Southampton Cultural Development Trust


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.