Monique Truong

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Monique Truong
Native name Monique T.D. Truong
Born Saigon
Occupation Writer, essayist
Language English
Nationality Vietnamese American
Education Yale University
Columbia University School of Law
Notable awards Young Lions Fiction Award Winner 2004, PEN/Robert Bingham Award Winner

Monique T.D. Truong (born 13 May 1968 in Saigon in South Vietnam) is a Vietnamese American writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

Early life[edit]

In 1975, at the age of 6, she and her mother left Vietnam for the United States as refugees of the Vietnam War.[1] Her father, a high level executive for an international oil company, initially stayed behind for work but later left the country as well after the fall of Saigon.[1] The family lived in North Carolina, Ohio, and Houston, Texas.[2]

Truong completed her undergraduate studies at Yale University, graduating in 1990 with a B.A. in Literature.[3] She attended Columbia University School of Law where she specialized in intellectual property law.


Truong co-edited the anthology Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose with Barbara Tran and Khoi Truong Luu. One of her co-editors suggested that she apply for a Van Lier fellowship, which allowed her to take two months off from her law firm to write what would become her first novel, The Book of Salt.[4]

Truong had the inspiration for this novel in college; she bought a copy of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (1954)[5] 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.[4]

Published in 2003, The Book of Salt won numerous literary awards, including the New York Public Library Young Lions Award and the Bard Fiction Prize. It takes place in post-World War I Paris, and tells the story of Binh, a Vietnamese cook, who, after spending years 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 novel explores themes of sexuality, diaspora, race, and national identity.

Truong currently serves as vice president of The Authors Guild.[6]


Short fiction and essay publications[edit]

  • 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



  • Asian American Writers' Workshop Van Lier Fellowship
  • Lannan Foundation Writing Residency
  • Residencies at the Liguria Study Center, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Fundacion Valparaiso
  • 2011 American Academy of Art and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Bitter in the Mouth [7]
  • 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship [8]
  • 2007 Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts Hodder Fellowship [9]
  • 2004 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award Winner for The Book of Salt [10]
  • 2004 Bard Fiction Prize for The Book of Salt [11]
  • 2004 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award [12]
  • 2004 PEN/Robert Bingham Award for The Book of Salt [13]
  • 2004 Stonewall Book Award—Barbara Gittings Literature Award for The Book of Salt [14]


  1. ^ a b Monique Truong – An Interview with Author, retrieved May 8, 2010
  2. ^ Truong, Monique (2006-06-18). "Opinion | My Father's Vietnam Syndrome". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  3. ^ Monique Truong: Meet the Writers, retrieved May 8, 2010
  4. ^ a b "Monique Truong Interview". Writers Write. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  5. ^ The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook: Alice B. Toklas, M. F. K. Fisher Fisher: Books
  6. ^ "Monique Truong - The Authors Guild". The Authors Guild. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  7. ^ "Awards – American Academy of Arts and Letters". Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  8. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Monique Truong".
  9. ^ "Faculty & Fellows". Lewis Center for the Arts. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  10. ^ "Young Lions Award List of Winners and Finalists". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  11. ^ College, Bard. "Bard College | Bard Fiction Prize". Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  12. ^ "Awards & Award Winners". PEN Oakland. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  13. ^ "PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction Winners - PEN America". PEN America. 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  14. ^ "ALA | Stonewall Book Awards". Retrieved 2018-05-27.

External links[edit]