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:

"We're still reeling from this wonderful event [...] with none other than Ms. Kim Thuy. It was an event that will certainly stay in the minds of participants young and old alike, for the generosity, simplicity, candor and greatness of Ms. Thuy's soul. Everyone left with emotion in their eyes, and we could feel the joy in their hearts.

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

"Throughout his presentation, a host of positive comments were entered into the "chat". The attendees really enjoyed the talk and would have taken even more."

Senior Professional Practice Advisor, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre

"Kim Thuy's conference was beyond our expectations! Kim Thuy was very pleasant, and thanks to her ease and enthusiasm, everything went off perfectly, without a hitch. The audience was enthralled throughout. In short, it was a success!"

Librarian, City of Montreal

"We're super pleased with the conferences and have received a huge amount of positive feedback.
Here are just a few:

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.

Planning was super easy with Kim and she adapted super well to our audience which we greatly appreciated."

Industrial Alliance

"I was greatly surprised by the human and accessible side of Ms. Thúy. A woman with a heart, she charmed our audience from the moment she arrived. Accepting enthusiastically to be photographed with everyone, she showed her pleasure to be there with us to celebrate. People love her! It's obvious! And... she responds well.

Kim talked about her failures with laughter and I fully felt that the people there understood that everyone has the right to make mistakes; no matter who we are, famous or not... In a career counseling process, as we do on a daily basis with our participants, this type of message is very telling. This was, for me, the 'highlight' of her participation."

Communication Officer, Quartier de l'emploi

"We all really loved the talk, it was touching, funny, amazing and poetic all at the same time!"

Managing Partner, Gestion Cabinet Woods Inc.

"Kim was very generous and friendly as usual. Truly an amazing woman!"

Communications and Events Coordinator, Aqinac

"In summary, everyone greatly appreciated the conference. Many who didn't know her discovered a generous, inspiring, funny and touching person. For those who already knew her, it was a very moving moment to finally meet her in person and be able to show their appreciation of her work and person."

Canadian Administrative Tribunal Support Service

"The event was a great success! Attendees loved Kim's inspiring words and personal anecdotes."

Social Media and Content Strategy Advisor, Solio Groupe Coopératif

"We had a superb multicultural week with many renowned guests, but I have to admit that our favorite was Madame Kim Thùy. What a great woman! She captivated the young teens for an hour or more (no mean feat!!) and was so generous with her time! We were instantly charmed! Truly, a joy from A to Z. We feel very fortunate to have met her. What's more, the follow-ups with her were simple and effective. We're still speechless."

Vanier High School

"Kim Thúy's talk was much appreciated by the participants and was well aligned with the themes we wanted to address.
Ms. Thúy is always inspiring and impressive in her humanism and humility. We have a lot of admiration for her!"

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

"Ms. Thuy was an excellent speaker. She met our needs, generous with her time, open and very interesting!!!! To be recommended!!!"

City of Sherbrooke

"It was great! [Kim] was generous, interesting, listened to people and it achieved everything we had in mind in terms of the message we wanted to deliver to people. We would have taken a lot more... and she was off to tell us a lot more!"

"[The] pre-conference meeting was a real success, as Kim was really in tune with the subject we were interested in, namely sharing her experience of immigrating to Quebec and her integration strategies. She succeeded in raising the awareness of the people in the room. In short, an outstanding and relevant meeting for our community."

Yvonne L. Cultural Centre Bombardier

 "Our participants] really appreciated it. [Kim] really captured the 'invisibility' part of the managers' job. We did a word cloud at the end of the day where we asked what their favorite part was and many wrote 'Kim'. I think it felt good to get away from the speakers we often see on motivational topics."

Canada School of Public Service

"Ms. Thuy was very generous in sharing her unusual life experiences and her time. She paid a great deal of attention to those present before and after her talk. This was much appreciated.

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.

In closing, I think this conference was very inspiring for the many parents and school staff in attendance."

Gaétan-Boucher School