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The Vietnam Learning Association - Launch Fundraiser

Having a large fundraising event on a weekday night is always a difficult proposition. Our volunteers and board members went above and beyond to help put everything in place and make the night truly special.

The decorations and details were perfect and we couldn't have done it without the help of the MIT VSA.

We had guests from Orange County, San Francisco, Texas, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Rhode Island, Conneticuit, Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.

The generous donations we received have put us on the road to completing our first library and we're adjusting our plans in order to make the most efficient use of the money we raised. 100% of the money donated will be used to build and outfit our first library.

Both our visiting authors gave wonderful talks which were well-received and we are extremely grateful for their support and help in making this a special evening.

Featured Speakers

 

Linh Đinh

Linh Đinh (born 1963) is a bilingual poet, fiction writer, essayist and translator, publishing in Vietnamese as Đinh Linh.

Born in Saigon, he left Vietnam on April 27, 1975 under the fake name of Lý Ký Kiệt. After living in Washington, Oregon, California and Virginia, he moved to Philadelphia in 1982, where he studied painting at the University of the Arts (at the same time as Phong Bui).

In 1991, he co-founded The Drunken Boat, a bimonthly art and literary journal which helped win him a Pew fellowship in 1993.

His poems, stories and translations began to appear in leading avant-garde journals such as Sulfur, Chicago Review, New American Writing and VOLT, with poems and stories translated into Vietnamese, by Khế Iêm and Phan Nhiên Hạo, among others, published in Hợp Lưu and Tạp Chí Thơ. After a 1995 trip to Saigon and Hanoi, where he met Bảo Ninh, Nguyễn Huy Thiệp, Dan Duffy and Peter Zinoman, he edited Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996). In 1998, Singing Horse Press released his first chapbook, Drunkard Boxing.

Returning to Saigon to live in 1999, he became familiar with the city's cutting-edge, underground writers, translating many of them. Though his career as a writer gained momentum in the US his work was considered too decadent and reactionary to be distributed in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, he started to translate his English poems into Vietnamese, and in 2001 he published a poem written directly in Vietnamese, "Nhưng Rồi". By late 2003, his Vietnamese poems were appearing regularly on Tiền Vệ. He returned to the US in 2001, only to leave for Certaldo, Italy, where he lived from 2002 to 2004 as a guest of the International Parliament of Writers. In 2005, he was a David Wong fellow at the University of East Anglia, in England.

His own works have been chosen for many anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2000, 2004 and 2007, and Gertrude Stein Awards: Innovative Poetry in English 2005/2006

He's working on an anthology, The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry, tentatively scheduled for publication in 2008.

- vietnamlit.org


Bich Minh Nguyen

Bich Minh Nguyen was born in Saigon in 1974. On April 29, 1975, the night before the city fell, she and her family fled Viet Nam by ship. After staying in refugee camps in Guam and at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, they settled in the conservative, mostly white town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In Stealing Buddha's Dinner she writes about how they left Viet Nam, and about what it was like to grow up in a Vietnamese household in an "All-American" city.

"It was the deep 1980s, and I wanted to be a "real"American. So I listened to a lot of bad music, watched a lot of bad TV, and longed for a lot of bad American food."

She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and currently teachs creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and Asian American Literature at Purdue University.

She lives in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, with her husband Porter Shreve. In addition to her first book, Stealing Buddha's Dinner she has coedited three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years (Pearson/Penguin Academic); Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye (Pearson Longman); and The Contemporary American Short Story (Pearson Longman).

Her work has appeared in Gourmet magazine; Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America; and Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose. She is currently at work on her next novel, "Short Girls".

"A charming memoir. . . . Her prose is engaging, precise, compact."
- Ben Fong-Torres, The New York Times Book Review

"Stealing Buddha's Dinner is beautifully written. Nguyen understands the evocative possibilities of language, is fearless in asserting the specificities of memories culled from early childhood and is, herself, an appealing character on the page . . . a writer to watch, a tremendous talent with a gift for gorgeous sentences."
- Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune

"[A] perfectly pitched and prodigiously detailed memoir."
- Boston Globe

"[A] pungent, precisely captured memoir."
- Elle Magazine

Winner of the PEN/Jerard Award

Sponsorship Levels:

Founder - $10,001 +
Benefactor - $5,001 - $10,000
Grand Patron - $2,001 - $5,000
Patron - $1,001 - $2,000
Sponsor – $501 - $1,000
Friend - $101 - $500
Donor - $1 - $100


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