Join us for VietBookFest

The Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) proudly presents Viet Book Fest, a one-day event celebrating Vietnamese diasporic literature scheduled for June 3rd, 2023 in the Downtown Santa Ana area. This event is a collaboration with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN) to amplify our community’s literary voices. Admissions to events will be free and open to the public.

Book Synopsis

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its publication, the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network and Texas Tech University Press are proud to release a newly updated version of Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose, the seminal anthology of Vietnamese American literature. Contextualized by a new foreword from Isabelle Thuy Pelaud and seasoned with new voices, Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose, 25th Anniversary Edition takes its place as a generational work of eclectic and essential voices.

Edited by Barbara Tran, Monique Truong, and Khoi Luu, this updated edition of Watermark continues to center Vietnamese American literature, whose emergence it celebrated upon its initial publication in 1998. Again, some of the most innovative contemporary Vietnamese American writers, such as Truong Tran, lê thị diễm thúy, and Dao Strom, explore thematic and stylistic territory previously overlooked in other collections, which have traditionally focused on war. New voices such as Nam Le, Anvi Hoàng, and Vinh Nguyen are included in this new edition, raising the number of pieces from forty to fifty-four.

Watermark lifts all constraints, leaving the works to reset the boundaries for themselves. And they do―using poetry, fiction, and experimental forms to venture further into the intricacies of the Vietnamese American psyche. A work equal measures foundational and pathbreaking, now available again for a new generation of readers―an essential collection not to be missed.


Barbara Tran

Barbara Tran’s poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Poetry, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. A new poetry collection is forthcoming from Palimpsest Press in 2024. Co-writer of Morgan Ommer and Dan-Chi Huang’s short xR film Madame Pirate: Becoming a Legend (an Official Selection of the 2022 SXSW Film Festival and in competition at the Cannes Film Festival), and a forthcoming sequel (2024), Barbara is the screenwriter for Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn’s forthcoming feature film Visions in the Dark (2025). Barbara is a recipient of a MacDowell Freund Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, and Lannan Foundation Writing Residency. She is co-editor of Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, 25th Anniversary Edition and a member of the collectives She Who Has No Master(s) and AfroMundo. Barbara gratefully acknowledges Canada Council for the Arts for their support.

Lưu Trường Khôi

Lưu Trường Khôi was born in Saigon, raised outside Chicago, and lives in New York City. His fiction has appeared in anthologies such as the Việt Nam Forum, Văn Học, and Best New American Voices. He’s one of seven American authors whose works comprise a nationwide literature curriculum, developed by Annenberg Learner and PBS, for middle-school students. He is the owner of Luu Tutoring, a test prep and admissions consulting company in Manhattan. He was educated at Harvard and has been in residence at Yaddo.

Monique Truong

Monique Truong is a novelist, essayist, and librettist. Her award-winning novels are The Sweetest Fruits (Viking Books, 2019), Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010), and the national bestseller The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). She is based in Brooklyn, New York.