Monique T.D. Truong (born 1968 in Saigon, South Vietnam) is a Vietnamese American writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Truong left Vietnam for the United States in 1975 and graduated from high school in Houston, Texas. She served in the past as an associate fiction editor for the Asian Pacific American Journal, a literary publication of the Asian American Workshop based in New York City.
Monique Truong was born on May 13, 1968, in Saigon, South Vietnam. In 1975, at the age of 6, she and her mother left Vietnam for the United States as refugees of the Vietnam War. Her father, a high level executive for an international oil company, initially stayed behind for work but later left the country as well after Saigon fell.
- Watermark: Vietnamese American poetry & prose, co-edited with Barbara Tran and Luu Truong Khoi (Asian American writers’ Workshop, 1998)
- The Book of Salt (Houghton-Mifflin, 2003)
- Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010)
The Book of Salt tells the story of Binh, a Vietnamese cook, who, after spending years in Paris working for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, must decide whether to travel with his employers to the United States, return to Vietnam, or remain in France. The book won the 2004 "Barbara Gittings Book Award in Literature" from the American Library Association. Truong won the 2004 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for The Book of Salt.
Truong had the inspiration for this novel in college after she bought a copy of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (1954) because she was interested in Toklas' famous hashish brownie recipe. Truong was intrigued to discover that Toklas and Stein had had two "Indo-Chinese" men who cooked for them at two of their French residences.
Taking place in the post WWI years in Paris, Truong uses the novel to explore the themes of sexuality, diaspora, race, and national identity.
One of Truong’s co-editors from the anthology Watermark suggested that she apply for a Van Lier fellowship, which allowed her to pay her expenses while taking off two months to write what would become The Book of Salt.
Short fiction and essay publications
- Vietnam: Identities in Dialogue
- Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing
- An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature
- "Kelly"; "Notes to Dear Kelly", in Shawn Wong, ed., Asian American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology (New York, Longman, 1995) pp. 288–293.
- "Kelly", in Amerasia Journal, 17.2 (1991)
- Yale University's The Vietnam Forum
- Van Lier Fellowship from the Asian American writers' Workshop
- Lannan Foundation Writing Residency
- Residencies at the Liguria Study Center, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Fundacion Valparaiso
- 2004 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award Winner
- 2004 PEN/Robert Bingham Award Winner with fellow authors Jonathan Safran Foer and Will Heinrich
- Monique Truong - An Interview with Author, retrieved 08-05-2010
- Monique Truong: Meet the Writers, retrieved 08-05-2010
- "Stonewall Book Awards: 2004". 2004-01-12. Retrieved 2007-08-12.
- Amazon.com: The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook: Alice B. Toklas, M. F. K. Fisher Fisher: Books
- *The Book of Salt (Houghton-Mifflin, 2003)
- Publisher's website
- Asian American writers' Workshop website
- 2004 interview
- 2003 Essay by author, "Into Thin Air," for Time Magazine
- 2004 Essay by author, "Kelly," for "North Carolina Literary Review"
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