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October 31, 2006


Author of The Gangster We Are All Looking For

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA — The final reading of the Fall Poetry and Fiction Series at Simon's Rock College of Bard will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The special guest for this reading will be noted novelist and performance artist Le Thi Diem Thuy. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Blodgett House at 7:30 p.m.

Le Thi Diem Thuy is best known for her acclaimed first novel, The Gangster We Are All Looking For. A chronicle of an immigrant family in California, the story is told through a child who has "a painter's eye for every color and fine detail of her world." (Boston Globe) The story, though not autobiographical, does draw on the author's own experience, and was one of the first book length works to emerge from this generation of Vietnamese refugees.

Le Thi Diem Thuy was born in Phan Thiet, southern Vietnam in 1972. In 1978, she and her father left Vietnam in the hold of a fishing boat, and then via a U.S. Navy boat. They landed and settled in Linda Vista, Southern California.

She moved to Massachusetts in 1990 to attend Hampshire College, and has since held fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Guggenheim Foundation.

In The Gangster We Are All Looking For, many critics recognized a new and vital voice in contemporary fiction. For The Village Voice Literary Supplement, Hugh Garvey wrote: "Le captures the magical thinking of childhood with its shifting awareness of the wonders and apprehensions of life."

The New York Times Book Review had this to say: "The cumulative, almost liturgical effect of the novel is both heartbreaking and exhilarating." Her first novel, it was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2003. Vogue named Le as one of the 10 writers to watch in 2003.

Her powerful solo performance work includes Red Fiery Summer and The Bodies Between Us, which she has presented throughout the United States, at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Vineyard Theater, among others, and at the International Women Playwrights Festival in Galway, Ireland.

The Poetry and Fiction Series at Simon's Rock College is coordinated by writer and faculty member Peter Filkins. The series has featured Seamus Heaney, Annie Proulx, James Merrill, William Kennedy, Susan Sontag, Michael Cunningham, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Caryl Phillips, Richard Wilbur, and others. The readings are generally one hour in length, and an opportunity to ask questions follows each reading. Both students and members of the community are encouraged to participate.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706