lê thi diem thúy

USA Ford Fellow, 2008

Lê thi diem thúy is a poet and solo performance artist. She left her native Vietnam by boat in 1978 with her family and settled in Southern California. Lê writes about the experiences of Vietnamese refugees living in the United States, in her words, the "floating casualties of history." By focusing on the experiences of individuals within historic events, she confronts conventional history and memory. Her well-received first novel, The Gangster We Are All Looking For (2003), chronicles the life of a Vietnamese girl growing up in California with memories of being a boat refugee and of a brother who drowned in Vietnam as well as an alcoholic father.

Portrait photo courtesy © Edward Judice

The Gangster We Are All Looking For, 2003; photo courtesy Alfred A. Knopf