Award-winning novelist coming to UCSC on October 7

Award-winning novelist Monique Truong will present a reading on Wednesday, October 7, at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Lecture Hall. (photo: Marion Ettlinger)

The UCSC Center for Labor Studies and the Living Writers Series will join together to present a reading by award-winning novelist Monique Truong, Wednesday, October 7, at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Lecture Hall on the UCSC campus.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Truong is the author of The Book of Salt, the fictional story of a gay Vietnamese cook who works for renowned American writer Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris during the 1920s and 30s.

Her first novel, it received the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Gittings Literature Award, and the Young Lions Fiction Award.

UCSC history professor Dana Frank, director of the UCSC Center for Labor Studies, noted the significance of Truong's book and the author's upcoming appearance on campus.

"Monique Truong's pathbreaking novel The Book of Salt highlights the invisible labor behind the public work of intellectuals," said Frank. "The novel investigates the private lives of those who cook, clean, and provide emotional support, making possible the creativity and fame of famous writers."

"In the United States, these workers are usually women and people of color," she added. "Yet their labors usually disappear from our stories of literary history."

Frank noted that Truong's UCSC appearance is also part of the Literature Department's Asian American Literary Series this fall. That series includes an appearance by famed author Maxine Hong Kingston on campus, November 18.

"Truong is a pioneering Vietnamese American novelist," said Frank. "In inviting her, we are pleased to be acknowledging the Vietnamese community in the Bay Area, as well as supporting Asian American Studies at UCSC."

Born in Saigon in 1968, Truong moved to the United States at the age of six, and went on to graduate from Yale University and the Columbia University School of Law.

Trong is the author of numerous essays and works of short fiction, and her new book, Bitter in the Mouth, will be published by Random House in 2010. She is also co-editor of the anthology Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, and her essay "Welcome to America" has been featured on National Public Radio.

The UCSC Center for Labor Studies is funded by the Miguel Contreras Labor Fund of the University of California Office of the President, and co-sponsored by the UCSC Division of Humanities.

The Living Writers Reading Series is hosted by the Creative Writing Program of the UCSC Literature Department. (For a full lineup of the Fall 2009 series, go to: Living Writers Series).

This event was additionally supported by a Diversity Fund grant from the Office of the EVC/Provost.

For more information, contact the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research,, (831) 459-5655.