Photo courtesy of Monique Truong
Award-winning author Monique Truong has written: “Immigrants are optimists at heart. War refugees—the subset to which I belong—are even more so.” Born in Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1968, she fled the country just before the Communist takeover in 1975. After earning degrees from Yale and Columbia University, she initially worked as an intellectual property attorney before becoming a writer. Her two novels, The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth, explore the lives of Vietnamese characters who live far from their homeland—one in France, the other in the American South. Both books have won numerous awards, and Truong was named a PEN/Robert Bingham Fellow, a Princeton University Hodder Fellow, and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.