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