Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Visiting Writers Series Presents: Bich Minh Nguyen

03/14/2012 to 03/15/2012 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Student Commons Theater, Texas Township Campus

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Wednesday and Thursday
March 14 and 15, 2012
10:00 am and 2:15pm

Author Bich Minh Nguyen, who will visit Kalamazoo Valley Community College on March 14-15 as a speaker in the Visiting Writer Series, says the best advice she can give aspiring writers is that they should read more work by the authors they enjoy.

“I love to meet with my students and give them advice on who might fit their aesthetic,” Nguyen said. “I think reading is the thing that makes people better writers.” She said it can also be helpful for writing students to discover and read the books that inspired their favorite authors.

Nguyen, who was born in Viet Nam in 1974, settled in Grand Rapids with her family as a girl. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and teaches creative nonfiction, fiction, and Asian American Literature at Purdue University. She and her husband, novelist Porter Shreve, divide their time between Chicago and Indiana with their infant son.

In the morning on both days of her visit to the Kalamazoo Valley campus, Nguyen will talk about her work, and in the afternoon, she will read selections of her writing. She will appear in the Student Commons Theater at the Texas Township Campus at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Nguyen will read from her novel, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which has been read throughout the campus this semester by faculty and students. The book, a memoir-in-essays, was the 2009-2010 Great Michigan Read, winner of the PEN/Jerard Award, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2007, Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, and Asian American Literature Award Finalist. Her novel Short Girls was the winner of a 2010 American Book Award and one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009.

Nguyen’s work has also appeared in Gourmet magazine; Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America; and Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose. Nguyen’s next book, Little Gray House in the West, comes out in 2013.

Nguyen said she’s looking forward to her trip to Kalamazoo. “I love meeting new people and talking about books,” she said. “Writing is so solitary. It’s nice to have a way to get out of your little box. One of the things I really enjoy writing about and hearing about from other people is the way we grew up. I love hearing about childhood. Childhood is kind of a unifying theme because everyone goes through a struggle growing up. Even though we may come from totally different backgrounds, we can relate because we all grew up trying to figure out who we are.”

KVCC’s “About Writing” series is orchestrated by instructor Rob Haight and offers students the opportunity to dialogue with professional writers and listen to their work. For more information, call Rob Haight at 269.488.4452.