The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

May 20, 2004

Thi Diem Thuy Le Reads On Prairie Lights Series June 3

Vietnamese-American fiction writer and performance artist Thi Diem Thuy Le will read from her debut novel, "The Gangster We Are All Looking For," at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 3, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the internet at

The author was born in southern Vietnam, but she and her father left by boat in 1978, when she was six years old, and after time in a Singapore refugee camp they settled in Southern California.

A preview in Publishers Weekly explained, "Le's first novel is a bracing, unvarnished, elliptical account of a Vietnamese refugee family, in America but not yet of it, hobbled by an unfamiliar environment and their own troubled relationships. . . . This is a stark and significant work that will challenge readers."

Jonathan Safran Foer, author of "Everything Is Illuminated," called her novel "A beautiful, deeply moving story of a family. The more I read, the more I felt the family was mine."

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,