Kim Thuy's Vietnamese Canadian novel Ru wins Canada Reads

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      The tale of a Vietnamese woman's difficult journey from war-torn Saigon to a new life in Quebec has won CBC's annual book competition Canada Reads.

      Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey successfully championed Kim Thúy's debut novel Ru as the book that all of Canada should read.

      The artfully spare autobiographical story won international critical acclaim and several literary awards, including the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for French-language fiction and France’s 2010 Grand Prix RTL-Lire.

      Here is Thúy talking about her book and its international reception.

      Thúy's second novel, Mãn, follows a Vietnamese cook in Montreal who has an affair with a married Parisian chef.

      During the Canada Reads competition, Vancouver-born Smallville star Kristin Kreuk defended Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee, children's rights activist Craig Kielburger defended The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, and singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright defended And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier (translated by Rhonda Mullins).

      Gossip blogger Elaine "Lainey" Lui passionately argued for Vancouver author Raziel Reid's When Everything Feels like the Movies. Reid's young adult LGBT novel, about a gay teenager, was inspired by the hate-crime murder of 15-year-old gay student Larry Fobes King in California in 2008.

      The book won the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature. However, controversy arose when critics organized a petition to have the award revoked for being inappropriate for young readers.

      Previous winners of Canada Reads include Vancouver actor Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, Jospeh Boyden's The Orenda,  Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes, and Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness.