Kim Thúy: a Quebec diamond
Kim Thúy's latest novel, Em, was published in 2020.
The Mouvement Québec français Montréal (MQFM) recently awarded the Harfang Prize to Kim Thúy for his committed action in the promotion of the French language. Métro took the opportunity to hear from this key figure on the Quebec literary and media scene.
Arrived in Quebec as a child, writer Kim Thúy considers French to be her second mother tongue.
“It's the language with which I learned to think,” says her, but also the freedom to be. And that is precious.”
A language which mothered her, which defined her identity and which gave her and her family, of Vietnamese origin, a second birth, a second living in the city of Granby.
“We didn't think we had a chance at this second life at all. And this second life began with French-speaking people who welcomed and accompanied us.”
These first moments defined the citizens they became, according to her, since they fell in love.< /p>
It is the positive memory of this welcome that prompted Kim Thúy to sing and celebrate the French language through his creations.
Quebec French is for me a language filled with wonderful memories. So when I write, my only goal in life is to share the beauty of things and you have to do it with the language of love.
For the rest of the world
When we ask Kim Thúy if she shares the concern of some about the decline of French in Quebec, this last one makes the choice of optimism.
“Director Guillermo Del Toro said that optimism is a choice, a brave choice, a rebellious choice, a radical choice even.”
For her, the sustainability of the French language depends on culture.
“We must continue to keep our culture alive, because language carries culture and it cannot exist without culture.”< /p>
As an example, the writer mentions the presence of Quebec literature departments in many countries around the world.
We are a drop in the ocean and yet we are studied, we are loved, we are known, we are recognized outside, because we have a unique culture. It is up to us to preserve and cultivate what we have in terms of particularity, uniqueness.
The only thing that Kim Thúy criticizes Quebecers for is not being quite “chauvinistic”, quite proud of what we have.
“We don't realize we have a diamond in our hands.”
So she wants us to celebrate more our identity and that we realize its richness.
“From there, we are not afraid of anything, because we know that we are precious.”
Getting to know
Kim Thúy doesn't yet know what his next book will be, but that doesn't stop him from being involved in a ton of projects.
Among these, there is the film adaptation of his first novel, Ru, the filming of which is about to end and which is directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud (Anna) .
Otherwise, she just finished recording season 4 of the showLa Kim's table, broadcast on ICI ARTV, where she receives personalities from different cultures and backgrounds.
Finally, the writer is also at the helm of a podcast produced by the University of Montreal. Like La Kim's table, the emphasis is on encounters, but this time, between two professors of disciplines who may seem at first sight to be poles apart.
Kim Thúy gives the example of a conversation between a theologian and an astrophysicist.
“However, after the hour and a half that we spend together, we finally discover that there has a lot of similarities and that there may even be room for collaboration.”
Entitled Getting to know, this ten-episode podcast should be released this fall.
Created on the initiative of the MQFM in 2009, the Harfang Prize is awarded annually to a personality who contributes significantly to advancing and spreading the French language in Montreal.