Welcome Lounges AMA AMA with Nhung Tran-Davies

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    • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
      Moderator
      Post count: 10

      Ask Me Anything

      with Nhung Tran-Davies

      thin air winnipeg international writers festival international ecrivains logo

      Nhung is an author, physician, mother of three, and an advocate for social justice in education. She came to Canada as a refugee from the Vietnam war when she was a young child. She loves to write children’s stories that convey the humanity in our lives. For her, children are reminders of the beauty in a grain of sand. Her books have been shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award and the Red Maple Award.

       

      She established the Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation in 2013 to help provide hope and opportunities to impoverished children. She founded the Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Mothers Who Write to help effect positive changes in the community through the voices of indigenous mothers. She as well founded the Zyp Art Gallery to help support local artists and bring awareness to social issues through the arts.  She is a recipient of RBC’s 2019 Top 25 Immigrant Award.

       

      Aside from her passion for writing and medicine, she loves travelling the world, reading poetry, and just hanging out in the garden with her three rambunctious children and their five cats. 

    • Marie T.Marie T.
      Participant
      Post count: 17

      Hi Nhung, thanks for being here! I was curious about how medicine influences your writing, and how writing influences your practice of medicine? It must be an interesting balance!

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi Marie! Sorry for the delay. I’m figuring out how this work. So not good with tech stuff 🙂 Thank you for your question 🙂 Yes, medicine helps me with my writing because I like listening to my patients’ stories and many of their stories inspire me. I learn a lot of my patients. I think the writing helps me be a better doctor because writing gives me an opportunity to reflect on things, as I strive to understand things/issues better. I think I gain great empathy through the process. Yes, writing allows me to apply the artistic side of me, to balance out the science. So, I am grateful for the opportunity.

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Ooops, learn a lot “from” my patients 🙂 I get so sloppy with messages.

      • Marie T.Marie T.
        Participant
        Post count: 17

        Awesome, thank you for your answer! Take care 🙂

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Thank you so much, Marie! I hope you all the best with your endeavours too! 🙂

    • David LightfootDavid Lightfoot
      Participant
      Post count: 5

      Hello Nhung. It is so amazing that you write about social justice topics. Despite what the conservative right may think, I believe that social justice themes would be quite appropriate for English/language arts classrooms in middle and high schools. It would make for great material for discussions, questions and quizzes, and essays and projects. I myself have a self-published novel that revolves around social justice themes (human rights violations for persons with disabilities) and I have been trying and eager to get my novel, “Broken Family Portrait” into high school and university classrooms in the English and literature programs.

      How would you, as the author, promote your novel to get it successfully chosen as a new book for students as “required reading” in the classroom, and what advice would you have for me?

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi David! It is so wonderful to hear that you have a passion for issues surrounding social justice. I believe it is so important, and to be able to highlight the issues via stories rather than “preaching”, I think, is more effective because it allows the reader to learn/analyze/reflect the issues for themselves, and hence grow as a person.

        That is so great that you have written a book about the ‘Broken Family’. It is certainly a prevalent issue, if it relates specifically to this issue. I wish I have a good answer for you as to how to get our books into the classrooms/curriculum. I think if you have an important story to tell, it needs to be told, and people will connect with it, and if we’re lucky, teachers will connect with it. It is through teachers, I think, that important stories are introduced to our children. I think the publishers may have a role as they may have connections in their marketing strategies. I know A Grain of Rice was introduced to The Michigan University curriculum for the foundation scholars there because I had given a speech on Resilience, and the students and teachers connected with it. I am just so grateful that they want to share the story with the students that go through their program.

        I hope this answers your question, David. All the best to you!

    • Bernice FraserBernice Fraser
      Participant
      Post count: 21

      Hi Nhung, thanks for being here! I was exploring your website and was delighted to see all the titles you have published & some that are forthcoming! Do you ever read your stories to your children when they are still a work in progress? Or speak to other young people about your idea?

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi Bernice! Thank you so much for your question. Yes indeed, I read the stories out to them when they’re close to the final draft, and I look to see how many eye rolls I get from the kids 🙂 I like to read the stories out loud too because I like to hear if there’s good rhythm to the prose, especially for the picture books. I also want them to hear the stories themselves because I know they wouldn’t want to pick up mom’s book as their first choice 🙂 I think so far they appreciate all the stories. My kids are now 15, 12 and 10.

      • Bernice FraserBernice Fraser
        Participant
        Post count: 21

        Thanks for that reply! Even though age 15 and 12 are prime eye-rolling ages, I bet your kids think it’s so cool what you are doing – the stories that you are telling are so important. It’s neat to hear you read them out loud for rhythm, I guess that would be almost more important for children’s books versus a novel. With your picture books do you get to work closely with the illustrator?

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi Bernice! I almost missed your response. Hehe, yes 12-15 yrs are prime eye-rolling ages 🙂 Yes, the illustrator experience has been variable. My picture book Ten Cents A Pound, I didn’t have a say, but being a novice at it, I decided to trust the process, as I believed my story was in good hands. I also like seeing how the illustrator interpreted my words. For The Doll, the editor connected me with the illustrator as it’s more of a personal story and the illustrator reached out to me to get a few more details for her illustrations. I try not to give them too much directions as I like to see what my words mean to them, and they’re more creative than I in that way. I don’t want to hinder them with my own visions.

    • Joy RenwickJoy Renwick
      Participant
      Post count: 16

      Hi Nhung. I have a couple of close friends who fled Vietnam and arrived in Manitoba with their families around 1980. Neither of them will speak much about the trauma of that experience. I wonder how you manage the heavy emotions of the story you’re sharing? Does writing actually help with that process?

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi Joy! Thank you so much for the question. Because I was so young at the time, I think the horrors of the war and the journey didn’t impact me as much. Kids are resilient in that way. I wanted to write the story more so to honour my mom and all that she had done. I didn’t realize though the impact writing the story had on me. I had to stop writing at a few of the points because I cried just thinking of how they felt, how they suffered, how scared they were, how so many people died needlessly. And so, writing the story was a bit of an emotional journey for me. It helped me gained greater appreciation for all that I have now. I also am a prouder Canadian for it because without our Canadian sponsors, we wouldn’t be here today.

      • Joy RenwickJoy Renwick
        Participant
        Post count: 16

        My friends came to Canada as teenagers, and I know they carry scars from their experiences. I can imagine how intense it must have been to write, and how much closer you must feel to the adults who walked alongside you. Children are resilient, for sure. I’m also thinking that taking us through this story from a child’s point of view allows us to experience the hard stuff with a child’s curiosity and innocence, and protects us a bit from the worry and fear that parents would feel.

      • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
        Moderator
        Post count: 10

        Hi Joy, I completely agree with your perspective. Seeing the world through a child/youth’s perspective often helps us be better adults. I hope one day your friends will open up a bit more about their experience, as I think despite the scars, it is healing to connect with others at that level. We, of course, all have stories within us, and to be able to talk to one another and share stories is so important. It’s that human connection that will help humanity get through some of our darkest hours.

    • Nhung Tran-DaviesNhung Tran-Davies
      Moderator
      Post count: 10

      Thank you so much guys for your interest and questions. This experience has been so delightful. All the very best to you all. Big hugs!!!

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