Kim Thúy, born in Saigon, left Vietnam in 1968 with the boat people at the age of ten and settled with her family in Quebec. A graduate in translation and law, she has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer, restaurant owner, and commentator on radio and television. She lives in Montreal and devotes herself to writing.
Kim has been selected for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist for her novel Vi.
What/who inspires you to write?
Everything. The difficulty is to choose which stories to tell because each story has its own colour and voice. My only job is to choose which stories fit together.
Do you have a favourite passage/quote from a book?
“I watched her face, her wrinkled skin, her crooked lips, and I can’t help but think that she is pretty, still. A man ought to be able to undress his wife from all the years until she lies before him naked in youth again.”
— Miroslav Penkov, East of the West
Where is your favourite place to write?
I don’t even have a desk to call my own. I write wherever it is possible to be on my own and play with words—so anywhere from airplanes, bus stations to my kitchen counter.
Is there an activity you do to help inspire your writing?
Turning off the radio, the screens and the phones 🙂
Silence provides the greatest inspiration.
What are you reading now?
I read a lot of poetry lately. Since I have such a full schedule, I value the concentrated version of reading that poetry offers. One poem, five minutes, and I am nourished for the day.
What inspired you to write your Scotiabank Giller Prize nominated book?
I wanted to share what each of the cities I’ve visited have taught me and how the people I’ve encountered helped to make me the person I am today.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I would hope readers feel they have touched and been touched by beauty—the beauty of words, of strengths, of adversity…
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for the latest Scotiabank Giller Prize news, including when the 2018 shortlist is announced on October 1, 2018.