Friday, September 5


Discovering Identity Through Food

Tupelo Room Barnard Observatory University of Mississippi
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Each year, the SFA in partnership with the Viking Range Corporation, will present the Viking Range Lecture Series featuring writers, chefs, poets, or artists. Each lecturer, using food as a vehicle, will explore a greater understanding of self, community, culture, or art.

In this inaugural year of the lecture series, we are pleased to bring two noteable authors to campus: Bich Minh Nguyen and Monique Truong. Nguyen and Truong will read from their work and will discuss the discovery and exploration of identity through food. Katie McKee, McMullan Associate Professor Southern Studies and associate professor of English, will serve as interlocutor for this discussion.

Bich Minh Nguyen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and currently teaches creative nonfiction, fiction, and Asian American Literature at Purdue University. She lives in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, with her husband, Porter Shreve. She is the author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner which received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center. The memoir was also recognized as a Chicago Tribune best book of 2007, a Kiriyama Prize notable book and a Book Sense pick. Nguyen writes about growing up in a Vietnamese household in an "All-American" city in the deep 1980s. She shares her often poignant tale of becoming American through junk food, classic children's literature, and 80's pop radio.

Monique Truong is coeditor of the anthology Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose. The Book of Salt, her first novel, was inspired by a brief mention of an Indochinese cook in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. Monique Truong was born in Saigon in 1968 and moved to the United States at age six. She graduated from Yale University and the Columbia University School of Law, going on to specialize in intellectual property. The Book of Salt, a national bestseller, was awarded the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the Young Lions Fiction Award, among other honors. Granting Truong an Award of Excellence, the Vietnamese American Studies Center at San Francisco State University called her "a pioneer in the field, as an academic, an advocate, and an artist." Truong now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The SFA Viking Range Lecture series is free and open to the public.