An Interview with Kim Thúy

An Interview with writer Kim Thúy by Alan Fernald, AFMSP Outreach Coordinator


When was the moment you first realized you would write?

I had never thought I could write since I don’t master any language well enough. How to write when the words I own are insufficient to describe the ideas I want to convey? I am under the impression that I will die with the frustration of not owning a language. But, I dare to write with the little that I have due to this unstoppable desire to share the things I find beautiful. Very often, I build a story around a new word I have just learned.

Even today, after 10 years of writing, I still consider myself not as a writer but simply someone who loves words.

What is your writing process?

I love hearing personal stories told by anyone and everyone, from taxi drivers to astronauts. I collect them in my memory and not in a notebook, because I want them to blend together without my intervention. And then, one day, when I get to sit down to write, certain stories, certain details would come to the words and give themselves to me like little gifts. My job is to note them down and follow the story as it would slowly reveal itself and form its own shape.

What is inspiring you right now? How do you see that playing into your current and future work?

Every piece of information I get to hear, every emotion I get to feel, every beauty I get to see… in brief, everything inspires me, gives me ideas. To me, inspiration is endless. The difficulty is to choose a line to follow and limit myself to it.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I throw away 70-80% of the things I write. I am never disappointed to start all over again, be it at my first page or 100th. I give myself the freedom of TIME! Dany Laferrière, a famous writer in Québec has said rightly so that the best quality a writer should own is his/her ability to sit for a long time!!! 🙂


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