Vietnamese refugee wins 2016 Pulitzer prize for fiction

20 April, 2016 | Vietnamese Community News
An undated handout image provided by Pulitzer Board on 18 April 2016 shows Vietnamese-American writer Viet Thanh Nguyen. (Photo: Pulitzer Board Handout / EPA)
Vietnamese refugee and professor at the University of Southern California, Viet Thanh Nguyen, has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 2015 novel “The Sympathiser.”

Nguyen’s debut book highlights the Vietnamese migrant experience by following the life of an unnamed double-agent spy from South Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, to the period of mass Vietnamese migration to the United States. The book also touches on the psychological journey which the character goes through.

The Vietnamese-American beat two other finalists – Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble: Stories and Margaret Verble’s Maud’s Line, the Pulitzer website announced.

The Pulitzer committee praised The Sympathiser as “a layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a ‘man of two minds’ and two countries, Việt Nam and the United States.”

Nguyen, who was born in Buon Me Thuot, Vietnam and arrived in the US in 1975 as a political refugee, took to Facebook after the win.

“Thanks for all your good wishes,” he wrote.

“I double checked with real people in my publisher’s office… and they say The Sympathizer really did win the Pulitzer Prize. Unless this is some cosmic virtual reality trick, I’m stunned.”

– with other agencies