April 28, 2023 (Santa Ana, California) – 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. The programming will include an author panel and book signing with Barbara Tran, Khoi Luu (Lưu Trường Khôi), the editors of the 25th Anniversary edition of Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, co-founder of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN), as well as as well as acclaimed author Lan Duong, who will discuss her newly released poetry collection, Nothing Follows. This event will be moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and hosted at the Santa Ana Public Library. Additionally a Book Market event showcasing several emerging Vietnamese-American authors will take place at Alta Baja Market, followed by a Performance Showcase at The Frida Cinema to wrap up the festivities. This event is a collaboration with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN) to amplify our community’s literary voices. Admission to all events is free and open to the public.
Originally planned as an in-person event, Viet Book Fest debuted in 2020 as a series of virtual events highlighting children’s book authors to promote youth literacy during the pandemic. This year marks the first in-person Viet Book Fest, continuing its mission to showcase Vietnamese diasporic writing, identity and community.
Ysa Le, VAALA’s Executive Director, stated, “We are thrilled to announce VAALA’s first in-person Viet Book Fest, in partnership with DVAN. This festival represents a significant moment for our community, as we gather together to celebrate Vietnamese American literature and culture. Our hope is that this festival will become an annual platform for writers and readers to connect, inspire, and learn from each other.”
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, the Executive Director of DVAN, added, “We are honored to collaborate with VAALA on this important and necessary event. Viet Book Fest provides a unique opportunity to elevate the voices of Vietnamese diasporic writers and foster meaningful connections within our community. Together, we aim to celebrate our diverse literary heritage and support emerging talents as they continue to shape and enrich our collective narrative.”
About Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose – 25 years ago, Watermark was released to explore the Vietnamese American identity, culture, and community. In partnership with DVAN and Texas Tech University Press, this year the book will be rereleased in a newly updated version with new literary voices such as Nam Le, Anvi Hoang, and Vinh Nguyen. Please join us June 3rd to attend a special authors panel with the editors of Watermark to discuss this landmark anthology of Vietnamese American literature.
Special Event Programming Schedule includes:
- 10am to 1:30pm – Special Author’s Panel bringing together Barbara Tran and Khoi Luu (Lưu Trường Khôi), the editors of the 25th Anniversary edition of Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, one of the founders of DVAN, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, as well as, acclaimed poet, Lan Duong. The discussion panel and Q&A will be moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer). Subsequently, there will be a poetry reading by Lan Duong from her new book, Nothing Follows, and a book signing event with all authors. There will also be an opportunity drawing for attendees to have the chance to win either book!
- 3pm to 5pm – Book Market at Alta Baja Market, in partnership with local Latine and women-owned bookstore, LibroMobile. There will be several up-and-coming and established Vietnamese American authors (Van Hoang, Line Papin, Christina Vo, Cathy Linh Che and Tina A. Huynh) who will discuss their latest works as well as take part in a designated book signing event. Attendees will be able to purchase their works as well as other recent and historical Vietnamese diasporic literature.
- 7pm to 9pm – Performance Showcase at The Frida Cinema. The festival will conclude with a night filled with local spoken word artists performing at the historic Downtown Santa Ana and Orange County’s only non-profit theater, The Frida Cinema.
More information and event registration at
Don’t miss out on the incredible selection of books, such as Nothing Follows by Lan Duong, that will be showcased at the festival! You can purchase them by clicking on the link below, and even have the chance to get your copy signed by the talented authors in attendance!
Founded in 1991 by Vietnamese American journalists, artists and community members to fill a void and provide a space for artists to express themselves as a newly resettled immigrant community, the mission of the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) is to connect and enrich communities through Vietnamese arts and culture. Celebrating its 30th year of service, VAALA collaborates with diverse community partners to organize community-centered artistic cultural events, including art exhibitions, book signings, music recitals, plays and its annual Viet Film Fest and Gallery Beyond Walls programming. More information about VAALA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) celebrates and fosters diasporic Vietnamese literary voices. DVAN promotes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to empower Vietnamese artists in the diaspora to inspire understanding and dialogue within our community, and with others. Our complex and diverse stories must be championed and passed on to current and future generations. We are refugees, immigrants, survivors, and descendants, and our stories must be heard. More information about DVAN on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
LibroMobile Arts Cooperative (LMAC) is a small sized, hybrid nonprofit organization established in 2016 by local author Sarah Rafael García in Santa Ana, California. It was initiated through support from its fiscal agent Red Salmon Arts, a partner hybrid nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas, and a five thousand dollar Investing in the Arts Grant by the City of Santa Ana. Although started with a minimal amount of funding, the hybrid nonprofit organization serves as the only literary arts cultural center for approximately 300K+ residents in the City of Santa Ana of which 80% are Latina/o/x as part of Orange County that is 60% people of color.
For media inquiries or more information, please contact Corey, VAALA’s Communication Specialist, at email@example.com