Along with her parents, Kim Thúy fled Vietnam for Canada in the late 1970s. The lawyer, translator, food journalist and bestselling author is now an unmistakable voice in Canada’s literary scene. In mid-February, she met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

by Kathrin Grün, translation Tim Schroder

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Franco-Candian author Kim Thúy © Simone Bühler

What Kim Thúy remembers about her arrival in Canada over 40 years ago is that all of Québec turned out to welcome the boat people. She was 10 years old at the time, and the welcoming committee seemed to be made up of giants. The shock the newcomers experienced was considerable as Canadians greeted them warmly and with open arms. “We arrived from a refugee camp, we had infections everywhere, and they did not for one second hesitate to pick us up and hold us. In the camp we didn’t have access to water or electricity. There were no mirrors, and the first time I saw myself again was in the eyes of these people. They looked at us as if we were treasures falling from the sky. …


Kim Thúy flüchtete in den späten 1970er Jahren mit ihren Eltern aus Vietnam nach Kanada. Mittlerweile ist die Rechtsanwältin, Übersetzerin, Food-Journalistin und Bestsellerautorin eine unüberhörbare Stimme in der literarischen Welt des Landes. Im Rahmen der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz traf sie Mitte Februar auf den kanadischen Premierminister Justin Trudeau.

von Kathrin Grün

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Kanadas Premierminister Justin Trudeau und die Bestsellerautorin Kim Thúy im Münchner Literaturhaus © Simone Bühler

Ganz Québec habe sich versammelt, um die Boat People zu begrüßen, erinnert sich Kim Thúy an ihre Ankunft in Kanada vor über 40 Jahren. Aus der Perspektive des damals 10-jährigen Mädchens sei das Begrüßungskomitee einer Ansammlung von Riesen gleichgekommen. Der Schock der Neuankömmlinge war groß, als die Kanadier sie herzlich und ohne jede Scheu in die Arme schlossen. “Wir kamen aus einem Flüchtlingslager in Malaysia, es gab dort kein fließendes Wasser, keinen Strom. Und auch keine Spiegel. Und so sah ich mich selbst zum ersten Mal nach langer Zeit durch die Augen dieser Menschen. Ich erinnere mich, dass sie uns ansahen wie Schätze, die vom Himmel fielen. Ich habe mich nie wieder als so schön empfunden wie damals”, erzählt die heute 51-jährige Autorin im Café des Münchner Literaturhaus. …


In just a short time, Tatjana Prenzel has achieved something many people only dream of: seeing her illustrations appear in the New Yorker and the New York Times. The young Frankfurt-based artist talks about the importance of leaving things out of drawings and why she thinks better when she’s putting pencil to paper. By Kathrin Grün, translation by Tim Schroder

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Tatjana Prenzel © Gesine Laura Hennig

She has illustrated dance performances for The New Yorker and book reviews for The New York Times. She has drawn exclusive hotel resorts for the magazines Relais & Chateaux and Papier Magazine, designed book covers for Penguin Random House USA and created wall art for an eyewear store in the US. In summer 2019, she was asked to teach at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg. In just a short time, Tatjana Prenzel has accomplished something many illustrators only dream of: since completing her degree in 2018 at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, the young Frankfurt-based creative has watched as the commissions for her artwork pile up. …

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Frankfurter Buchmesse is the biggest market place for publishing ++ Guest of Honour 2020: Canada (14–18 October 2020) ++ #fbm20 ++

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