When she was six years old, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai and her family left their small village in northern Việt Nam for Bạc Liêu, a city located in one of the southernmost points of the country. As a northerner growing up in the south after 1975, Quế Mai witnessed the post-war devastation felt by those on both sides of the conflict. She gained a deep appreciation for the stories of all those around her, including the many boat people who were fleeing the country at the time. She had always wanted to be a writer, but initially pursued a career in business instead. But the dream to be a writer was always there. When Quế Mai published her first book of poetry in Vietnamese, there was no looking back. In 2020, she published THE MOUNTAINS SING, her debut novel and first book written in English. Set in 20th century Việt Nam, it tells the multigenerational tale of the Trần family as they experience several crucial moments in the nation’s history. The novel became an international bestseller, as well as a testament to the power of Vietnamese stories.
Executive Producer: Tracey Nguyen Mang
Associate Producer: Saoli Nguyen (saolinguyen.com / IG: @saolinguyen)
VBP theme music: Clarity, Paulina Vo
Other Music: Before the War, Lama House; Dew Over Meguro, Lama House; Miika’s Journey, Lama House; Where Legends Dwell, Lama House; Chapters, Aerian