Hello! My name is Thu and I’m from Hanoi, Vietnam. Studying Literature has always been a natural thing for me to do—in no other discipline can I find the same freedom, and rigor, and creativity that I do here. I have been in love with Literature since young, when I first read the (not very legal) translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Homer’s Iliad. It is a tough love, though, and every now and then I experience the frustration when trying to write about the ineffable, but I hope that with time I will get better at this pursuit.
I find things to adore in all literatures across time and regions, but I have become more and more enamoured with ancient studies. I’m interested in the classical tradition and reception, and how the classics continue to inform the literary cultures that come thousands of years after them. My personal favorites, though, are on the other end of the spectrum—I love all about Murakami and Kafka. (Especially Murakami. Always Murakami.)
What is your most memorable experience so far in Literature?
This isn’t so much a single experience but more like a collective: as I was treading through the fourth semester, I suddenly saw all of my previous literary studies come together and form a beautiful connection, even those that seemed totally unrelated before. The path I was seeking all of a sudden became clear as I realized I was walking on it. To me, it really showed how the different studies of Literature aren’t isolated pursuits; there is a common red thread running through the whole literary canon you may find. No wonder our professors made us compare Ramayana and Odyssey in Year 1.
How does the study of Literature inform you in your everyday life?
Literature can do many little things and many great things, but I think the greatest thing it has done so far is to tell the universal human condition. It is through Literature that we learn about people like us and people different from us, and most importantly, we learn how to reach their hearts regardless of who they are. This power of Literature often reminds me how important it is to live with more kindness and patience. As a writer, I hope to accomplish the same thing someday, too—to change the little things around me and to inspire.
What are your other interests?
I do ballroom dancing and am a regular member of the Literary Collective. In my free time I write and translate Vietnamese literature, because I dearly hope someday the underrepresented works will have the merits they deserve. If I have even more free time, Harvest Moon is the way to go.