Kim Thúy

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Kim Thúy in November 2010

Kim Thúy, CQ (born 1968 in Saigon, South Vietnam)[1] is a Vietnamese-born Canadian writer, whose debut novel Ru won the Governor General's Award for French-language fiction at the 2010 Governor General's Awards.[2]

Life and career[edit]

At the age of ten, Thúy left Vietnam with her parents and two brothers, joining more than one million Vietnamese boat people fleeing the country's communist regime after the fall of Saigon in 1975.[3] The Thúys arrived at a refugee camp in Malaysia,[4] run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, where they spent four months[5] before a Canadian delegation selected her parents for refugee status on account of their French-language proficiency.[6] In late 1979, Thúy and her family arrived in Granby, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and later settled in Montreal.[7]

Thúy earned a bachelor's degree from the Université de Montréal in linguistics and translation (1990), and later earned a law degree from the same school (1993). [8] In her early career, Thúy worked as a translator and interpreter and was later recruited by the Montreal-based law firm Stikeman Elliott to help with a Vietnam-based project.[9] In this capacity, she returned to Vietnam as one of a group of Canadian experts advising the country's Communist leadership on their tentative steps toward capitalism.[9] She met her husband while working at the same firm, and the couple had their first child while on assignment in Vietnam.[6] Their second child was born after the couple relocated to Bangkok, Thailand on account of her husband's work.[6]

After moving back to Montreal, Thúy opened a restaurant called Ru de Nam,[8] where she introduced modern Vietnamese cuisine to Montrealers.[6] She worked as a restaurateur for five years, after which she dedicated one full year to creative writing, and landed a publishing contract for her first book thanks to a former patron of Ru de Nam.[6]

She was nominated for the New Academy Prize in Literature in 2018.[10][11]


Thúy's debut novel Ru won the Governor General's Award for French-language fiction at the 2010 Governor General's Awards.[2] An English edition, translated by Sheila Fischman,[12] was published in 2012. The novel was a shortlisted nominee for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize[13] and the 2013 First Novel Award. The novel won the 2015 edition of Canada Reads,[14] where it was championed by Cameron Bailey.

In 2016, Thúy published her third novel, Vi. An English translation, again by Fischman, was published in 2018.[15] The book was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[16]


  • Ru (2009)
  • À toi (2011), co-written with Pascal Janovjak
  • Mãn (2013)
  • Vi (2016)
  • Le secret des Vietnamiennes (2017)


  1. ^ "From lawyer to novelist: an alumna's amazing journey" Archived 2014-10-12 at the Wayback Machine. Université de Montréal, February 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Eight Quebec writers win Governor General's prizes". The Gazette, November 17, 2010.
  3. ^ “Kim Thúy”, by Myriam Fontaine, Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert, at the Canadian Encyclopedia; published February 27, 2012; last edited January 18, 2018; retrieved May 28, 2018
  4. ^ “Kim Thúy on how ‘refugee literature’ differs from immigrant literature“, by Brian Bethune, at Macleans; published April 11, 2018, retrieved May 28, 2018
  5. ^ “A Refugee's Multilayered Experience In 'Ru'”, interview by Scott Simon, at National Public Radio, on Weekend Edition Saturday; aired on November 24, 2012; retrieved May 28, 2018
  6. ^ a b c d e “Q&A with Kim Thúy”, interview by Terry Hong, at BLOOM; published September 18, 2013, retrieved May 28, 2018
  7. ^ “RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants: Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants: Kim Thúy”, by Lisa Evans, at Canadian Immigrant; retrieved May 28, 2018
  8. ^ a b “Asian Heritage in Canada: Kim Thúy” at Ryerson Library, Library and Archives; retrieved May 28, 2018
  9. ^ a b “Kim Thúy’s river of life”, by John Barber, at The Globe and Mail; published February 5, 2012; updated April 30, 2018; retrieved May 28, 2018
  10. ^ "Canadian writer Kim Thuy among finalists for New Academy Prize in Literature". Calgary Herald. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ Löfgren, Emma (29 August 2018). "Four writers shortlisted for 'the new Nobel Literature Prize'". The Local. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Kim Thuy's novel Ru draws on refugee past". CBC News, March 9, 2012.
  13. ^ "Scotiabank Giller Prize short list announced". Toronto Star, October 1, 2012.
  14. ^ "'Ru' by Montreal's Kim Thuy wins CBC's 'Canada Reads' competition". Brandon Sun, March 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "6 new Canadian books to watch for in April". CBC Books, April 4, 2018.
  16. ^ "Esi Edugyan, Patrick deWitt, Tanya Tagaq among 12 authors longlisted for 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize". CBC Books, September 17, 2018.