Q. Your award-winning autobiography, Ru, looks at the Vietnam conflict where you were among “the first wave of the boat people" to escape to Canada. Tell us about the events that led to it.
A. South Vietnam lost the war in 1975. We were part of the first wave who left in 1978. Each of us fled for a different reason. In our case, we were targetted by the Communist regime as former politicians and capitalists. My parents had no choice but to leave, since, my brothers would never be admitted to university once they reach 18, the age for military service. The options were simple: to die on a battlefield or at sea. We chose the sea since there was a slight hope of survival.
Q. What made you pen Ru?
A. Often, I fell asleep at red lights while driving. It happened a couple of times before I found the trick to staying awake: taking notes. Soon, my husband gave me a one-month penalty at home; he wanted me to think about a career I love instead of changing every five years. Instead of looking for a new profession, I put the notes I from my computer, and one page led to another, until it became a book a year later.
Ru, Kim Thuy, Bloomsbury Publishing, `299. Available at leading bookstores, April 15 onwards.
Q. What can audiences look forward to at your session?
A. We’ll discuss a bit about the path I’ve taken, from (being) a Vietnamese boat person in a Malaysian refugee camp 35 years ago up to today, passing by my career as an interpreter, lawyer and chef. We’ll talk about books and my luck at being a Canadian author visiting India, a country I fell in love with 10 years ago.
On: Today, 6.30 pm
At: Indigo Restaurant Terrace, Colaba