Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut, 2014 [fr]
Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut was born in Hue, Viet-Nam, in 1962. Her family moved to the US in 1968, then three years later moved to France. After finishing high school in France, she went back to the US to attend university. Thanh-Van earned a BA in Math and Physics from Whitman College and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
She worked several years in France before starting to write, with her sister Kim,the story of a detective, Mandarin Tan, set in 17th century Viet-Nam. They wrote two novels together before Tranh-Van kept the series going on her own. It proved successful and several of the books have been translated into Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian and German.
Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut was in residence at Randell Cottage for five months, and toured New Zealand in partnership with the Alliance Française network, to give conferences, readings and host workshops. As per provision in the cooperation agreement signed between the Embassy and Maison du Livre in Nouméa in November 2012, she also travelled to New Caledonia where she met with students, led writing workshops and hosted talks throughout the three provinces. She used her time in New Zealand to focus on a new book which features a Kiwi component.
Attended by Randell Cottage trustees, local academics, francophiles and friends, the reception was a warm welcome for Thanh-Van. H.E. Mr. Laurent Contini, Ambassador of France to New Zealand, officially welcomed Thanh-Van and wished her the best for her stay. Commending the ever increasing literary and cultural bonds between France and New Zealand, H.E. Mr. Laurent Contini, expressed his thanks to the France / New Zealand Friendship Fund, the Randell Cottage Trust, and the many other continuing supporters of the Randell Cottage.
Thanh-Van responded by sincerely thanking those who had made her arrival in New Zealand so pleasant. Speaking in both French and English, Thanh-Van expressed her happiness at being selected as the 2014 Randell Cottage laureate, before divulging some details of the novel on which she will be working during her residency.
Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut, 2014 French author in residence at the Randell Cottage in Wellington toured New Zealand throughout March, giving conferences and hosting talks on the topic “History of Vietnam and Asia in the XVIIth century, including the impact of the Europeans’ arrival.”
The author exchanged with students and New Zealand audience on her journey as a writer, her recurrent character detective Mandarin Tan and Vietnam in the XVIIth century.
After her New Zealand tour, Thanh-Van also travelled toNew Caledonia from the 20th to the 27th of April and Australia from the 25th to the 31st of May for another series of talks.
17th century Viet-Nam, an empire called Dai-Viet, is on the brink of civil war as two families, one from the North and the other from the South, vie for the control of the country. National stability is at stake with a weakened Emperor and rampant corruption within the Confucian administration. The internal crisis is intensified by armed clashes at the borders with Champa, an Indianized nation, and by the massive arrival of Westerners. While French Jesuits set foot on the territory with hopes of evangelizing the population, Portuguese and Dutch merchants aim to profit from the natural riches of the area. Maritime trade is about to rule this part of the world as ships roam the Eastern seas, their bellies loaded with silk, spices, precious woods and gems.
These times of social unrest and political upheaval provide the ideal setting for the adventures of Mandarin Tan, a young magistrate in charge of meting out justice in a world swept by the winds of change and undermined by an ambitious ruling class.
On Friday the 14th of March, 2014 Randell Cottage writer in residence Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut joined Radio NZ’s Christine Argyle to discuss her career as a writer, her residency at Randell Cottage, and much more.
The Randell Writers’ Cottage was established in 2001 as a rotational residency for French and New Zealand writers and was inaugurated by New Zealand author Peter Wells and French writer Nadine Ribault.