Kim Thuy
  speakerand author

Kim Thuy, speaker left Vietnam with the boat people at the age of ten and settled with her family in Quebec. With degrees in translation and law, the writer has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer and restaurant owner. Kim Thúy has received several awards, including the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award, and was one of four finalists for the Nobel Alternatif in 2018. In 2023, she was named Chevalière de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française. Her books, which have sold over 850,000 copies worldwide, have been translated into 31 languages and 43 countries and territories. Kim Thúy lives in Montreal and devotes all her time to writing.

Kim Thuy's lectures:

  • Duration: approximately 60 minutes, adaptable
  • Disponibles en Français et en Anglais / Available in French and English
  • A preparatory call is planned to adapt the content of the conference.

The success of my failures

With her strong personality, her great culture, her boundless enthusiasm and her unbridled humour, Kim Thuy, speaker, will amaze you with her words. Ever since she was a child, her life has gone from strength to strength, and her failures have always turned into successes. Her trick? Letting go. Kim has a fabulous knack for not worrying about life and turning every situation to her advantage. You will discover, among other things, how this "boat people" child from Vietnam became a few years later a seasoned lawyer who even acted as an advisor to the Vietnamese government in its transition to democracy. Or how her failed restaurant became the springboard for her career as a novelist.

There is no doubt that the words of his lecture and his story will not leave you indifferent and will even make you want to turn your failures into successes.

Living with an autistic child and the challenges in society

Personal testimony of Kim Thuy, speaker, whose son is autistic.

Biography of Kim Thúy :

First name: Kim Thúy | Last name: Ly Thanh | born in Saigon, Vietnam

Kim Thuy, speaker, left Vietnam with the boat people at the age of ten and settled with her family in Quebec. With degrees in translation and law, the writer has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer and restaurant owner. Kim Thúy has received several awards, including the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award, and was one of four finalists for the 2018 Nobel Alternative Prize. Her books have sold over 850,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 29 languages and 40 countries and territories. Kim Thúy lives in Montreal and devotes her time to writing.

  • Nov. 1978 - March 1979 Kuantan Refugee Camp, Malaysia
  • 27 March 1979 Arrival in Granby, Quebec
  • 1990 Bachelor's degree in translation - University of Montreal
  • 1993 Bachelor of Law - University of Montreal
  • 1995 Quebec Bar
  • 1992 - 1998 Lawyer - Stikeman, Elliott / Assignment in Hanoi
  • 1998 - 1999 Consular Officer - Canadian Consulate in Saigon
  • 2002 - 2007 Entrepreneur/Restorer - Ru de Nam


  • 2023 Chevalière de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française
  • 2023 Nominated for the 2023 International Dublin Literary Award (Em book)
  • 2019 Honorary Doctorate from Bishop's University for extensive civic and community involvement
  • 2019 Compagne des arts et des lettres du Québec, Government of Quebec
  • 2018 Women of Distinction Award from the Women's Y Foundation of Montreal
  • 2017 Medal of Honour from the National Assembly of Quebec
  • 2017 Honorary Doctorate from Concordia University for lending an eloquent voice to the refugee experience
  • 2016 Spokesperson for the Petit Robert between 2016 and 2018, Kim Thúy enters the 2018 edition of the Robert illustré
  • 2015 Knight of the National Order of Quebec, Government of Quebec
  • 2013 Paul-Gérin-Lajoie Tolerance Award, presented in 2013 by the organization Ensemble pour le respect de la diversité

Kim Thúy's works:

2009 / Ru

Ru, her first book, was published in 2009 by Libre Expression and was an instant success. A bestseller in Quebec and France and translated into twenty-eight languages, Ru has also won numerous literary awards, including the prestigious 2010 Governor General's Award, the 2010 RTL-Lire Grand Prize from the Salon du livre de Paris, the Italian Premio Mondello per la Multiculturalità 2011 and the Grand Prix littéraire Archambault 2011. Ru was also a finalist for the Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie in 2010 and for the prestigious 2012 Giller Prize for best Canadian book. The English edition won the Canada Reads Battle of the Books and was declared "the" book to read in Canada in 2015.

Ru is made up of very short stories that are linked, as if in a ritornello: the first sentence of the chapter usually repeats the idea that ended the previous chapter, thus making it possible to bridge all the events that the narrator has experienced: her birth in Vietnam during the war, the flight with the boat people, her reception in a small town in Quebec, her studies, her family ties, her autistic child, etc. The writer's life is filled with charming, singular people, difficult or bizarre situations experienced with equal happiness, and she knows how to play wonderfully with the reader's feelings.


  • Winner 2015 - Canada Reads
  • Winner 2014 - Literary Prize of the Ambassadors of the Francophonie countries (Denmark)
  • Winner 2011 - Mondello Prize for Multiculturalism (Italy)
  • Winner 2011 - Grand Prix littéraire Archambault - public prize
  • Winner 2010 - Prix du Grand Public Salon du livre de Montréal
  • 2010 Winner - Governor General's Literary Award 2010
  • Winner 2010 - Grand Prix RTL-Lire du Salon du livre de Paris (France)
  • Finalist 2018 - The New Academy Literary Prize 2018 (The Alternative Nobel)
  • Finalist 2012 - Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada)
  • Finalist 2012 - Governor General's Literary Award for Translation
  • Finalist 2010 - Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie (international)
  • Finalist 2010 - Prix Première (Belgium)
  • Finalist 2010 - Ouest-France Étonnants Voyageurs Prize (France)
  • Finalist 2010 - Prince Pierre of Monaco Foundation Discovery Grant
  • First selection 2012 - Man Asian Literary Prize
  • First selection 2014 - International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • 2012 Nominee - First Novel Award
  • Best-seller in Quebec (Renaud-Bray, Archambault and Le Devoir charts)
  • National bestseller in Canada (Maclean's, BookNet Canada)
  • CBC Books Canadian Writer to Watch in 2012
  • Chapters Indigo Channel - Heather's Pick in 2012
  • BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime Pick (Readings from modern classics, new works
  • by leading writers and literature from around the world) in June 2012
  • In the Quebec top 10 for Canada Reads 2013

2011 / To You

Her second book, co-written with Pascal Janovjak and entitled À toi, was published in September 2011. Born of a rare literary complicity, this meditation-correspondence sketches the journey of two children of exile and nomadism, through memories and anecdotes. The book is part of Radio-Canada's 2016 Unmissable series and its audio version can be listened to online.

2013 / mãn

The author's third book, mãn was a finalist for the Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie in 2014 and has been translated into thirteen languages. The English-language paperback version of the book is on the Barnes & Noble Discovery Pick list in the United States in the fall of 2015.

Mãn has three mothers, a teenager who gave birth to her and left her in the vegetable garden of a Buddhist temple on the banks of one of the branches of the Mekong, a nun who took her in and fed her before entrusting her to another woman, Maman, a teacher and spy. For her safety, Maman entrusts her to a Vietnamese restaurant owner living in Montreal who becomes her husband. In this new world, Mãn develops her natural talent for cooking, an art through which she learns not only to nourish the body but also to distil memories, emotions and sensuality into her dishes. And it is in this way that she discovers, when she meets a Parisian chef, the inextricable link between love and food and passionate love and its perils.

mãn is a refined, delicately beautiful story about learning to love.


  • Finalist 2013 - Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie
  • Finalist 2013 - Ouest-France Étonnants Voyageurs Prize
  • Discovery Pick by Barnes & Noble USA in the fall of 2015
  • MacEwan University (Canada) Book of the Year 2015
  • Algonquin College (Canada) Book of the Year 2015

2016 / Vi

Published in 2016, this new book by Kim Thuy, speaker, tells the story of Vi, the youngest sister of three older brothers, the "little treasure" who finds herself in spite of herself in the great Life and its tumults. Leaving Saigon for Montreal, visiting Suzhou and Boston, growing up alongside ordinary heroes, she witnesses the immensity of the sea, the multiplicity of horizons, the uniqueness of sadness, the luxury of peace, the complexity of love, the infinity of possibilities and the violence of beauty. Like a good student, she looks, learns and receives. But will she ever know how to live this great Life?


  • Winner 2017 - International North-South Prize, Pescarabruzzo Foundation
  • Winner 2017 - Arlette-Cousture Prize
  • Finalist 2018 - Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada)
  • Finalist 2017 - High School Literary Award - Île-de-France (France)
  • Finalist 2016 - Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie (international)

2017 / Autism explained to non-autistic people

L'Autisme expliqué aux non-autistes (Autism explained to non-autistic people) was born of a project dear to the heart of Kim Thuy, speaker, who is the mother of an autistic teenager. By using the method developed by Brigitte Harrisson and Lise St-Charles, specialists in autism and founders of SACCADE, she was able to understand her son Valmond and make him understand her.

Kim Thúy encouraged the two specialists, one of whom is herself autistic, to share their vision in an accessible book to provide parents of autistic children, those working with people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and, more broadly, the general public, with a unique tool for communicating and understanding this neurological disorder.

2017/ The Secret of Vietnamese Women

Kim Thúy offers us more than 50 recipes from her native country, often accompanied by a short text, an excerpt from a book or an anecdote, thus opening the door to the writer's intimate and singular universe. With the collaboration of Michelle Bouffard, sommelier, the writer proposes Vietnamese food and wine pairings, as well as a presentation of rarer ingredients and their substitutes. She also presents different varieties of vermicelli and noodles, herbs and fruits, to the delight of Vietnamese food lovers.


  • Winner 2019 - The Gourmand Cookbook Awards in the C18 category
  • Asia (Canada)
  • Winner 2018 - Prix Eugénie Brazier - category Prix de la Francophonie
  • et d'Ailleurs (France)
  • Winner 2018 - Måltidsakademien - Best Cookbook
  • in translation (Sweden)
  • Winner 2018 - Taste of Canada / Regional and Cultural Cookbooks
  • Finalist 2020 - Taste of Canada / Cookbooks
  • regional and cultural (English language)
  • Selection 2018 - 30 Best Books selected by the critics,
  • Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
  • 2019 / Self-esteem and the Autistic

After L'Autisme expliqué aux non-autistes Kim Thúy renewed her collaboration with the two autism specialists, this time on a book about the construction of an autistic person's self, through her own experiences as a parent of an autistic teenager.

If Autism Explained to Non-Autistic People was a lifeline for many parents and caregivers, helping them to understand why certain behaviours are observed and so often decried, this second book explores the possibility of a better existence for autistic people in the neurotypical world. The reality of the autistic person must be at the heart of the interventions, to help them build their identity and their self-esteem. This book shows that the two fundamental aspects of the autistic person's self-esteem, competence in areas that are important to him or her and validation from significant others, will lead to the development of social skills.

2019 / The Fish and the Bird

Kim Thúy's first illustrated book, Le Poisson et l'oiseau (The Fish and the Bird) was born of a dream of the writer's where a little girl had forgotten to close the door of her bird's cage. Nearby, in its bowl, the goldfish tries to converse with the bird. How can they play together with all the differences between them? How can they love each other when they have nothing in common? The answer lies somewhere in the spread of the bird's wings and the grace of the fish's fins.

The Fish and the Bird takes the form of a poem that pays tribute to beauty and difference. It has been masterfully put into images by Rogé.

2020 / Em

Written in her distinctive style, Kim Thuy's dazzling and formally complex new novel reveals a fascination with the bonds that bind us together. Em, which in Vietnamese means "little brother", "little sister" or "beloved", explores the ways in which humans traumatised by war and exile are driven to seek love and family when their past catches up with them. Through the intertwined fates of a family of characters, the novel is as much about Operation Babylift, the evacuation of thousands of biracial orphans from Saigon in April 1975, as it is about the nail polish and nail salon industry and the rubber plantations of old Indochina.


  • Motivation, success and self-improvement
  • Diversity
  • Creativity


  • Wireless headset
  • Stool
  • Small table (for notes and water bottle)
  • Ms. Thuy does not have a PowerPoint presentation.


speakersQuebec, Training, Motivation and Team Building - Formax - Kim Thúy - speakerand author

Kim Thuy in conference:

Kim Thuy X TEDx Pôle Maisonneuve

Excerpt from Kim Thuy's lecture recorded in November 2022.

Interviews with Kim Thuy :

HOW IT IS - Discussion with Kim Thuy at the time of COVID-19

PepTalk on the road #1 (June 2016)

PepTalk on the road #2 (June 2016)

What our customers say:

« Nous sommes encore sous le choc de cette merveilleuse activité qui s’est déroulée […] avec nul autre que Mme Kim Thuy. Une activité qui restera certainement dans la tête des participants(es) jeunes et aînés(es) pour la générosité, la simplicité, la candeur, la grandeur d’âme de Mme Thuy. Tous et toutes sont sortis(es) avec de l’émotion plein les yeux et nous avons senti la joie dans leur cœur. »

AQDR Rivière-du-Loup

The conference was fantastic. [Kim is] an incredible human being. She elevates energy and discourse wherever she is. 

Parrainage civique du Haut-Richelieu

« Tout au long de sa présentation, une foule de commentaires positifs ont été inscrits dans le « chat ». Les participants ont vraiment apprécié la conférence et ils en auraient pris encore plus. »

Senior Professional Practice Advisor, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre

« La conférence de Kim Thuy était au-delà de nos attentes! Kim Thuy était très agréable et grâce à son aisance et son enthousiasme, tout s’est parfaitement déroulé, sans aucun imprévu. Le public était au rendez-vous, et enchanté tout au long de la présentation. Bref, c’était une réussite! »

Librarian, City of Montreal

« Nous sommes super satisfaites des conférences et nous avons reçu énormément de commentaires positifs.
En voici quelques-uns :

Thank you for inviting this wonderful person to speak to us today. I would have listened to her for hours. What an inspiring and wonderful woman!

[Kim is] wonderful and fascinating to listen to. Very inspiring.

[Her] exuberance and positivity is very inspiring. I can relate to [Kim's] story as also being an immigrant to this great welcoming nation of ours.

This has been one of the most interesting and pleasant conferences I have ever attended.

La planification a été super facile avec Kim et elle s’est super bien adapté à notre public ce que nous avons grandement apprécié. »

Industrial Alliance

« J’ai été grandement surprise par le côté humain et accessible de Madame Thúy. Femme de cœur, elle a su charmer notre public dès son arrivée. Acceptant avec entrain et enthousiasme de se faire photographier avec tous, elle a démontré son plaisir d’être là avec nous pour célébrer. Les gens l’adorent! C’est évident! Et… elle y répond bien.

Kim a parlé de ses échecs en riant et j’ai pleinement ressenti que les personnes sur place ont compris que toutes et tous ont droit à l’erreur; peu importe qui nous sommes, célèbre ou non… Dans un processus d’orientation professionnelle, tel que nous le faisons au quotidien avec nos participantes, ce type de message est très révélateur. Ce fut pour moi, le « highlight » de sa participation. »

Communication Officer, Quartier de l'emploi

« Nous avons vraiment touts adoré la conférence, c’était à la fois touchant, drôle, étonnant et poétique! »

Managing Partner, Gestion Cabinet Woods Inc.

« Kim a été très généreuse et fort sympathique comme d’habitude. Vraiment une femme surprenante! »

Communications and Events Coordinator, Aqinac

« En résumé, tous ont grandement apprécié la conférence. Plusieurs, qui ne la connaissaient pas, ont découvert une personne généreuse, inspirante, drôle, touchante. Pour ceux qui la connaissaient déjà, c’était un moment très émouvant d’enfin la rencontrer en personne et de pouvoir lui montrer leur appréciation de son œuvre et de sa personne. »

Canadian Administrative Tribunal Support Service

« L’événement a été un franc succès! Les participant.e.s ont adoré les propos inspirants et les anecdotes personnelles de Kim. »

Social Media and Content Strategy Advisor, Solio Groupe Coopératif

« Nous avons vécu une superbe semaine multiculturelle avec de nombreux invités de renom, mais je dois admettre que notre coup de cœur a été pour Madame Kim Thùy. Quelle grande femme! Elle a su captiver les jeunes ados durant une heure et plus (ce qui n’est pas rien!!) et elle a été tellement généreuse de son temps! Nous avons été sous le charme instantanément! Vraiment, un bonheur de A à Z. Nous nous sentons choyés d’avoir pu la rencontrer. De plus, les suivis avec elle ont été simples et efficaces. Nous sommes encore sans mot. »

Vanier High School

« La conférence de Kim Thúy a été très appréciée par les participants et était bien enlignée avec les thèmes que nous souhaitions aborder.
Mme Thúy est toujours inspirante et impressionnante dans son humanisme et son humilité. Nous avons beaucoup d’admiration pour elle! »

Regroupement lavallois pour la réussite éducative (Laval group for educational success)

« Mme Thuy a été une excellente conférencière. Elle a répondu a nos besoins, généreuse de son temps, ouverte et très intéressante !!! À recommander!!! »

City of Sherbrooke

« C’était génial ! [Kim] a été généreuse, intéressante, à l’écoute des gens et ça a atteint tous les objectifs que nous avions en tête quant au message que nous voulions livrer aux gens. On en aurait pris encore longtemps… et elle était partie pour nous en dire encore longtemps ! »

« [La] rencontre préconférence a été porteuse puisque Kim était vraiment enlignée avec le sujet qui nous intéresse, soit le partage de son expérience d’immigration au Québec et ses stratégies d’intégration. Elle a réussi à sensibiliser les gens dans la salle. Bref une rencontre marquante et pertinente pour notre milieu. »

Yvonne L. Cultural Centre Bombardier

 « [Nos participant] l’ont bien apprécié.  [Kim] avait vraiment bien saisi le volet « invisibilité » du travail des gestionnaires.  Nous avons fait un nuage de mots à la fin de la journée où nous avons demandé quel était leur moment préféré et plusieurs ont inscrit « Kim ». Je pense que ça faisait du bien de sortir des conférenciers qu’on voit souvent sur les sujets de motivation. »

Canada School of Public Service

« Madame Thuy fut très généreuse dans le partage de ses expériences de vie fort peu banales et de son temps. Elle a accordé beaucoup d’attention aux personnes présentes avant et après sa conférence. Cela fut très apprécié.

Since the aim of the conference was above all to showcase neurodiversity as part of Autism Month, she shared with us her journey as a mother and career woman through her own experience and that of her son Valmont. Her talk was punctuated by delightful personal anecdotes that gave us a better understanding of the impact of a child with special needs like her son's on family life.

Although Ms. Thuy is not a specialist in the field of autism, we were charmed by her resilience and openness to accepting what is present, without judgment.

En terminant, je crois que cette conférence fut très inspirante pour les nombreux parents et le personnel de l’école présents.« 

Gaétan-Boucher School