Souvankham Thammavongsa reads from HOW TO PRONOUNCE KNIFE
Saturday, July 4 at 10am
on Facebook @AliceMunroFestival
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A young man painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A father who packs furniture to move into homes he’ll never afford. A mother who works nights alongside her daughter, harvesting worms. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. In her startling debut book of fiction, Souvankham Thammavongsa vividly captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants and refugees, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance — and, above all, their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. Told with compassion, wry humour, and an unflinching eye for the often absurd realities of having to start your life over again, these stories honour characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary “grunt work of the world.”
Unsentimental yet tender, and fiercely alive …
Souvankaham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. The title story of her forthcoming debut collection of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel. How to Pronounce Knife was published on April7th.