The Vietnamese with Kenneth Nguyen

Ep.#84 English - Nguyen Phan Que Mai - Poet and Author of The Mountains Sing

August 4, 2021

Dr Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (pronounced ŋwiən fα:n kwe mai) is an award-winning writer and journalist. She is the author of eleven books of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese and English. Her writing in Vietnamese has received the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, and First Prize in the Poetry Competition celebrating 1,000 Years of Hanoi.

Her debut novel and first book in English, THE MOUNTAINS SING, is an International Bestseller, a New York Times Editors' Choice Selection, Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, Winner of the Blogger's Book Prize 2021, Winner of the 2021 International Book Awards, and Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for "a work of exceptional quality" and for "contribution to peace and reconciliation". The novel has been named a best book of 2020 by many media establishments including NPR and the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Quế Mai is the translator of seven books published in Vietnam and the United States, and has received the Vietnam Writers Association’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Vietnamese Literature Overseas. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the UK's Lancaster University.

She currently divides her time between Indonesia and Vietnam. Her writing has appeared on The New York Times, BBC Vietnamese, Lit Hub, Poets & Writers Magazine, among others. She has just been named by Forbes Vietnam as one of 20 inspiring women of 2021. Her second novel in English, Dust Child, is forthcoming with Algonquin Books.

Quế Mai is passionate about empowering others. In her voluntary roles, Quế Mai is an editor of DVAN's publishing series, an Author Advocate for Room to Read, a creative writing teacher at the Roshan Learning Center for Refugees, and Founder and Head of Advisory Committee of Chắp Cánh Ước Mơ Volunteer Group. 

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