Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies called for authors

“Authors and researchers have a lot in common. Both want to share their work in a meaningful way,” says Monique Truong.

Monique Truong

Truong is the Vietnamese-American author of Bitter in the Mouth and The Book of Salt, both of which discuss themes related to immigration and national identity. Truong, who has a refugee background, is also interested in the meaning of flavour.

“For a refugee, food can be a powerful method to elicit a feeling of home,” she says.

“Flavours from your childhood can transport you across the years or to an entirely different place. Anyone who has ever lived far from home can recognise the link between flavours and memories.”

Lately Truong has been searching for flavours for her kitchen from the Helsinki market halls, where she has also found new ingredients for her food blog. Truong came to Helsinki through the new Writer Programme of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The programme aims to enhance discussion between art and research and promote collaboration with parties outside academia. Each year, one or two fiction writers are invited to work alongside researchers.

“I hope to raise discussion about ways to express one’s thoughts in an engaging way,” Truong summarises her own role in the programme.

She will remain in Helsinki until midsummer and prepare her new novel about the life of traveller Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904).

Truong’s colleagues at the Collegium include historians and other researchers, from whom she wishes to gain new insight into her work. In return, she will organise a creative writing workshop in late May for both researchers and other interested parties.

The next guest in the Writer Programme will be the German author Antje Rávic Strubel, who will arrive in September.

HCAS Writer Programme » »

Monique Truong's blog » »

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Text: Virve Kuusi
Photo: Susanna Kekkonen
14.5.2012
Translation: Language Services of the University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, digital communications


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