Congratulations to Souvankham Thammavongsa for writing How to Pronounce Knife which won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize
How to Pronounce Knife is a collection of 14 short stories. All but two of the protagonists are immigrants Canadians from Laos. They are children, a factory worker, a senior citizen, an ex-boxer, small businesspeople, farm labourers, a cleaner. They are disempowered people. Even if, like Mr. Vong (from the short story The Universe Would Be So Cruel), they hold a position of respect in their community they discover that they are still powerless against outside forces.
Many of these stories are tinged with sadness. Many are earthy, gritty stories.
Following in the tradition of authors such as John Steinbeck, Souvankham Thammavongsa uses her considerable talent to champion the underdog. People that many of us may not have known existed if not for her.
Published by McClelland & Stewart
an imprint of Penguin Random House
Published in 2020
Wednesday, November 11
I will read my short story "Remembering Him"
--and oh boy will this be a challenge for me to read.
Is She Me?
This short story is intended as an anthem for women of a certain age.