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Nov 9, 2022

We’re joined by author Van Hoang, who teaches us the story of the Monkey King, how Journey to the West MIGHT have been a romance novel, and how going through puberty turns every kid into a trickster spirit. 


Content Warning: This episode contains conversations about or mentions of trauma, puberty, crude jokes, misogyny, and arranged marriage.  



Van Hoang’s first name is pronounced like the van in minivan. Her last name is pronounced “hah-wawng.” She earned her bachelor’s in English at the University of New Mexico and her master’s in library information science at San Jose State University. She was born in Vietnam, grew up in Orange County, California, and now resides in Los Angeles with her husband, kid, and two dogs. Girl Giant and the Monkey King is her debut novel, and its sequel Girl Giant and the Jade War came out in December, 2021.



- Recommendation: This week, Julia recommends Dead End: Paranormal Park on Netflix.

- Books: Check out our previous book recommendations, guests’ books, and more at

- Call to Action: Check out Exolore: Helping you imagine other worlds, but with facts and science! Every other week, astrophysicist/folklorist Dr. Moiya McTier explores fictional worlds by building them with a panel of expert guests, interviewing professional worldbuilders, or reviewing the merits of worlds that have already been built.



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About Us

Spirits was created by Julia Schifini, Amanda McLoughlin and Eric Schneider. We are founding members of Multitude, an independent podcast collective and production studio. Our music is "Danger Storm" by Kevin MacLeod (, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.