Chaired by Steven Gale
Steven kicked off the event by asking each author to explain to the audience why they wrote their novel.
Kim surprisingly told us that she has a cycle of a 5 year career and her husband made her stay at home for one month and she wrote. It wasn’t meant to turn out to be a book. She wrote about the book people as she knew about them. She then read one paragraph of the book in English.
Chika wrote her book for different reasons. She wanted to write the book to satisfy her own curiosity of the subject. She then read several extracts from the book.
Talk then moved to the structure of the book particularly Kim’s book. She told the audience that “You have to build a book, the book is basically full of notes and I wanted it to be just one stroke. It was my editor that suggested I put in paragraphs.” Kim then told us that there is very little reference to the boat people in Vietnam, they as not recognised in any of the history books in the country.
“Not as radical as I wanted it to be,” was how Chika described her novel. The mother her main character thinks she knows is the mother dictated to her by society. The letters are part of her mother and that is why the main character doesn’t want to know about them.
Talk then moved onto how the Vietnamese community were against Kim’s book. Mainly because they feel the book does not take a strong stand against communism.
Chika has written short stories, nonfiction books and poetry in Dutch. However she told the audience that she prefers to read and write in English. This is mainly because you can play in English they was you can’t in Dutch. “When I write in Dutch it is like I am a different writer. Poetry takes a lot of blood and sweat from you when novels and short stories don’t. You cannot distance yourself from poetry.”
On that note this wonderful hours discussion came to a close.