The history of Vietnam in the 20th century is marked by intense upheaval, violence and displacement. Colonialism and the aftermath of war continue to cast long shadows over those who left to forge new lives in Australia and across the globe. But is it ever possible to leave the past behind?

André Dao (Anam), Tracey Lien (All That's Left Unsaid) and Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (Dust Child, The Mountains Sing) speak with Sheila Ngọc Phạm about family secrets and reckoning with history through literature.

Presented with Fairfield City Museum and Gallery’s MÌNH exhibition.

Tracey Lien (International)

Tracey Lien

Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That's Left Unsaid is her first novel.

André Dao (Australian)

André Dao

André Dao is a Melbourne-based writer, editor and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. His writing has appeared in Meanjin, Sydney Review of Books, Griffith Review, The Monthly, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, The Saturday Paper, New Philosopher, Arena Magazine, Asia Literary Review and elsewhere. Anam will be published in Australia in May 2023 by Penguin Random House Australia, and in August 2023 in the United Kingdom by Picador.

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (International)

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is a Vietnamese author whose novel, The Mountains Sing, is an international bestseller, runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the BookBrowse Best Debut Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award Fellowship. Author of twelve books in Vietnamese and English, her writing has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in major publications including The New York Times. Dust Child is her most recent novel.

Sheila Ngoc Pham (Australian)

Sheila Ngoc Pham

Sheila Ngọc Phạm is a writer, editor and curator working across media, public health, and the arts. She writes for a wide range of literary and mainstream publications, and was a finalist for the 2021 Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. Sheila has previously held editorial roles at the ABC and is currently a contributing editor to diaCRITICS, the online journal of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network.