His novel "Interior Chinatown," [is] a satire about typecasting and racism in Hollywood.
The novel, published in January by Pantheon Books, follows an Asian film actor stuck in the background roles of "Generic Asian Man" or "Delivery Guy" with very few lines, while yearning to one day become the "Kung Fu Guy."
In a virtually-streamed ceremony, the 2020 judging committee praised the book, which was written in the form of a screenplay, as a "wonderfully inventive work."
"By turns hilarious and flat-out heartbreaking, Charles Yu's 'Interior Chinatown' is a bright, bold, gut punch of a novel," said the judges' statement.
When accepting the award on camera, Yu was visibly surprised, laughing in disbelief. "I can't feel anything in my body right now. I prepared nothing, which tells you about how realistic I thought this was," he said, quipping that it all felt like a simulation.
"I will probably just stop talking now," he added. "I'm going to go melt into a puddle right now."
Yu's previous works include the science-fiction novel "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" and two collections of short stories. He has also written for television, notably for the hit HBO show "Westworld."
"INTERIOR CHINATOWN is hilarious, poignant, and painfully relevant," tweeted Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American novelist who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
As somebody who loved his first novel, this novel, and his story "Fable," this win is a remedy to the dismal news of 2020
Read "Fable" here: