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Noted Vietnamese writer, Ms. Duong Thu Huong, Nobel Nominee for Literature


Hon. David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia Pacific) and former Secretary of State (Latin America & Africa) for Canada:

It is a great honor and privilege to announce that Ms. Duong Thu Huong, an internationally acclaimed writer from Vietnam and recipient of numerous world literary distinctions, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009 by Dr. Joseph Pivato, Professor, Centre for Language and Literature, Athabasca University, Canada. This nomination was officially acknowledged by Horace Engdahl, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy in February 2009.

Ms. Duong is a courageous and controversial woman writer from a country, where freedoms of expression and thought are severely restricted. Determined to challenge the regime in the name of human dignity, Ms. Duong has risked her career, her family and even her own life to write the truth about Vietnam and its admirable people. Her books written in Vietnamese were well received worldwide and have been translated into several languages, including English and French.

In his submission, Dr. Pivato wrote, “She is a creative writer of exceptional skill and beauty, but who also has the courage to speak for the many disadvantaged people of Vietnam and South East Asia. “

Born in Vietnam, she grew up and served during the Vietnam War. Ms. Duong is a living witness of a human tragedy that killed millions of innocent victims in both North and South Vietnam. As a writer, she was angry to see her people betrayed and her country divided and broken because of failed leadership on both sides of the conflict. Not only did she share the sadness and suffering with her people during war times, but ironically in peace time she was ashamed and felt powerless to live in a country where basic human rights are blatantly denied and violated.

According to Dr. Pivato, “Since 1988 she has published four novels which have won the admiration of readers and critics around the world. The four titles are: Paradise of the Blind (1988), Novel Without a Name (1991), Memories of a Pure Spring (2000), and Beyond Illusion (2002). She has published many other books, articles, essays and interviews. Many of her works have been banned or censored in her own country. This has turned her into an important figure in the struggle for artistic freedom and civil freedom in South East Asia”

Overall, Ms. Duong is a writer with a mission to set her people free. In response to a question about the future of Vietnam by Free Radio Asia, she said: “I hope my people will live better. Ordinary people will have a chance to expand their mind, to live better, to gradually be aware of their rights as human beings, and to fight for democracy... There is still a long way to go but I remain hopeful for without hope, it's hard to live this life.”

In darkness in this troubled world, hope is the key message that Ms. Duong wishes to convey to all members of our human family.

To honor this creative writer whose courage and resilience have captured the world’s conscience and to recognize a female Asian writer whose sacred task is to speak the truth and to defend human freedoms and dignity under the watchful eye of a totalitarian regime, I encourage all organizations, institutions and interested persons to endorse Dr. Pivato’s nomination.

Please show your support by writing to

The Swedish Academy
P.O. Box 2118
SE-103 13 Stockholm
Telephone: +46 (0)8-555 125 00
Telefax: +46 (0)8-555 125 49

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