Lit Fest: Lê Thị Diễm Thúy

Lit Fest: Lê Thị Diễm Thúy

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Mon 26 Apr, 8 pm

Continuing its Literary Series, Tadioto welcomes Lê Thị Diễm Thúy, award-winning poet, novelist, and performer. Born in Phan Thiet, Central Viet Nam, in 1972, Lê left her homeland with her father in a fishing boat in 1978. Picked up by an American ship, they were placed in a refugee camp in Singapore. She would eventually resettle to Southern California with her father. Lê’s mother and sister joined them two years later via a camp in Malaysia. Two of Lê’s siblings drowned during her childhood; her eldest brother in the ocean in Vietnam when he was six while a sister drowned in a Malaysian refugee camp. Lê adopted the name of her deceased sister after her father mistakenly reported her name when they were rescued at sea.

Lê took her inspiration for writing from her love of fairy tales: “Reading a book of Grimm fairy tales, she recalls, I felt transported. Things happen very suddenly in fairy tales: A man puts on a cloak and vanishes. I could relate to that. Once I was somewhere and then I was here, and everything had vanished. I didn’t take it as fantastic. I thought it was real.”

She moved to Massachusetts in 1990 to enroll in Hampshire College where she concentrated on cultural studies and post-colonial literature. In 1993 Lê traveled to Paris to research French colonial postcards from the early 1900s—images of Vietnamese people taken by French photographers. Some of the images she collected would later appear in her performance work. On her return to Hampshire, she wrote poems, prose and pieces of dialog that would form the foundation for her senior thesis and first solo performance work Mùa Hè Đỏ Lửa/Red Fiery Summer. In 1996, she was commissioned to write her second solo performance work entitled “the bodies between us”, which was subsequently produced by New WORLD Theater. In the same year, she published a prose piece entitled The Gangster We Are All Looking For in Massachusetts Review.

Lê was cited by the New York Times as one of its “Writers On The Verge”. Her work has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Harper’s Magazine, and “The Very Inside” anthology, and among her awards are Fellowships from the Radcliffe and Guggenheim foundations.

113 Trieu Viet Vuong
Hai Ba Trung District
Ha Noi
Tel (844) 2218 7200


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