Monique Truong

Writers or rather our works begin the conversations about the difficult, unanswerable subjects of life, and often our works keep the conversations going when everyone else would rather forget. We are the antidote to bread and circuses.

nypl young lions prize

bard fiction prize

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize




A coming-of-age tale with a magical ferocity that recalls Doctorow and Nabokov.
— Jayne Anne Phillips
A tour de force. Truong should take literate America by storm.
— Kirkus Reviews
Vietnamese American writer Monique Truong’s bone is the outsider’s plight, and her pen is a scalpel, laying perfect words down along that nerve until even the happiest reader understands what it means to forever stand apart from your family and the larger society you inhabit.
— Los Angeles Times

Monique Truong is the author of the forthcoming novel, The Sweetest Fruits, which will be published by Viking Press in September 2019. Her second novel, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010), received the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rosenthal Family Foundation Award and was named a 25 Best Fiction Books  by Barnes & Noble, a 10 Best Fiction Books by Hudson Booksellers, and the adult fiction Honor Book by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.

Her first novel, The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), was a national bestseller and the recipient of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, Bard Fiction Prize, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles National Literary Award, Association for Asian American Studies Poetry/Prose Award, and an Asian American Literary Award. The Book of Salt was also honored as a New York Times Notable Fiction Book, a Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction Books, a Village Voice’s 25 Favorite Books, and a Miami Herald’s Top 10 Books, among other citations.

Truong is the editor of Vom Lasterleben am Kai (C.H. Beck, 2017), a collection of reportage by Lafcadio Hearn, a.k.a. Koizumi Yakumo, the subject of The Sweetest Fruits, and the co-editor of Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose (AAWW, 1997).

Truong contributes essays, often about food or memory or both, to O Magazine, Real Simple, Marie Claire, Town & Country, Condé Nast Traveler, Allure, Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, the New York Times and its T Magazine for which she wrote “Ravenous,” a monthly online food column, the Times of London (Saturday Magazine), Time Magazine (Asia edition), and other publications.

In an interview discussing her writing process, Truong notes, “I begin with a character who fascinates me. I focus first on that character’s voice. Reading aloud is a large part of my writing process because I want to 'hear' my characters. So far, I’ve written novels only in the first person voice. I don’t see that changing. I like the limitations of the first person voice. I like working within the restrictions of a particular character’s vocabulary and emotional range or lack thereof. I’m also a firm believer that for every story there are many other versions of that story that are not being told. The first person voice, for me, is all about highlighting that sharing and withholding.”

In collaboration with the composer/performer/soundartist Joan La Barbara, Truong has written the lyrics for a choral work, a song cycle, and is at work on a libretto for an opera inspired by Joseph Cornell and Virginia Woolf.

A Guggenheim Fellow, U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellow in Tokyo, Princeton University’s Hodder Fellow, and a Visiting Writer at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Truong was most recently the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College in the Fall of 2016.

She has been in residence at at Djerassi, Akrai Residency, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Lannan Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Ucross Foundation, Sea Change Residency, Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities (Bogliasco), Fundacion Valparaiso, Ledig House International Writers’ Residency, and Santa Maddalena Foundation, among others.

Truong is also an intellectual property attorney. Born in Saigon, South Vietnam, Truong came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1975. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.



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