Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Viet Thanh Nguyen hosts ACCENTEDirl for DVAN with featuring authors from various Southeast Asian backgrounds.

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) is collaborating with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American (APA) Center to host ACCENTEDiRL: Dialogues in Diaspora. This Spring 2021, ACCENTEDiRL will feature authors, artists, poets, and cultural producers across the Southeast Asian diaspora in a series of four free virtual events hosted on Facebook Live and YouTube, hosted by Pulitzer-prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

For the second installation of this series, we’ll be enjoying cocktails and delving into “Tales from the Margins” with Paul Bonnell, H’Rina DeTroy, Kao Kalia Yang, and Souvankham Thammavongsa.

Link to closed captioning:


H’Rina DeTroy is a Montagnard American writer who grew up in the northeast and a Brooklynite for twenty years. She was the recipient of the 2020 Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation Grant in Literature and the 2019 Emerging Writer Fellowship at Aspen Word in Memoir. Roxane Gay selected her essay entitled “The Vengeance of Elephants” for the 2017 Curt Johnson Prose in Creative Nonfiction for December Magazine. Her personal essay, “Knot,” was published in the anthology Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland by feminist publisher Demeter Press. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism and MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College. An adjunct instructor in New York City, she also created Apocalypse Never: Writing Our Origin Stories and Imaginative Futures as Montagnard Americans, a writing workshop centering the indigenous Montagnard diasporic experience. Inspired by the interest around Apocalypse Never, she’ll lead another workshop called Multi-Verses: Writing Our Immigrant Origin Stories starting in May. She is passionate about creating limitless spaces for Montagnard stories and imagination. Recently appointed a contributing editor to diaCRITICS, her focus is amplifying voices of the indigenous Montagnard and ethnic minority diasporas of Southeast Asia.

Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning Hmong-American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family MemoirThe Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color. Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. Her children’s books are A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, and The Most Beautiful Thing. Her work for children has been recognized as Notable Books by the American Library Association, the Zolotow Honor, as Kirkus Best Books of the Year, and won a Heartland Bookseller’s Award. Yang is the recipient of four Minnesota Book Awards. Kao Kalia Yang is a recipient of the Ordway Center’s Sally Award for Social Impact.

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books and the short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife (Little, Brown, 2020), winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. Her stories have won an O. Henry Award and appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Granta, and NOON. Thammavongsa was born in a Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand and was raised and educated in Toronto.

Paul Bonnell was born in Buôn Ma Thuột, Vietnam. He has lived in the Philippines, Malaysia, and the United States. He teaches, coaches, writes, plays music, and climbs in northern Idaho, where he lives with his family. He is interested in poetry, essays, fiction, hybrid art, the Vietnamese Diaspora, the Chăm, the Bru, mountain culture, biopolitics, and transracial/transnational adoption.


Thuy Phan is the creator of mixaphoria, a virtual bookbar that curates and designs cocktail pairings for books by diverse writers. mixaphoria’s mission is to encourage readers to engage with diverse literature and spark thoughtful discussions. Thuy’s recipes and book reviews for each pairing can be found at or on Instagram @mixaphoria. Thuy is also a dancer and lives in MA.

Check out Thuy’s special curated cocktail for this night, Weathering the Storm.


Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, and Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America. His most recent book was Chicken of the Sea, written with his son Ellison. His next book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.


Philip Nguyen is the producer of ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora presented by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN). He teaches Asian American Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and is the Community Organizing Manager for the Vietnamese American Roundtable, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Jose, California. Philip serves as the President of the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) and as the Co-Chair of the Young Vietnamese Americans (YVA) Committee for PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization.

This project blends DVAN’s ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora show with the Smithsonian APA Center’s Heritage iRL to engage with audiences from across the world in intimate, lively conversations about culture, heritage, and narrative.

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