Describing Madeleine Thien without sounding like manic fan on hyperdrive is hard, considering that the Canadian-born, multi-award winning writer is the closest thing to a soul whisperer. She has the frightening ability to absorb human frailties and strengths—and everything else in between—and radiates them back to us with aplomb sensitivity in stories. Lovely, overwhelming, and at times, cumbersome, human stories. Think Delphic-superhero meets Galadriel. In November of 2013, Madeleine’s closing speech at the LiterAsian Festival in Vancouver made headlines, and at the close of the year, she was one of the many writing giants worldwide to condemn state surveillance on digital communication. These were just some of the many topics we talked about in this week’s premier episode of MsRepresent.
Madeleine Thien is one of the most accomplished and internationally renowned young fiction writers in Canada. Her short stories and novels have been published throughout the English speaking work, and translated into approximately 18 languages. Her first adult book, a collection of short stories entitled Simple Recipes, was published by M&S in 2001, and was the winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Vancity Book Prize, the City of Vancouver Book Award, and the Canadian Authors Award for most promising Canadian writer under the age of 30. Her second novel, entitled Certainty, was published by M&S in 2006, and won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and also earned Madeleine the Ovid Festival Prize of Romania, given each year to an international writer of extraordinary promise. Madeleine’s most recent novel, entitled Dogs at the Perimeter, was published by M&S in 2011. An accomplished and daring book about the Cambodian genocide, Dogs at the Perimeter, has been widely read and taught. Born in Vancouver, and educated at both SFU and UBC, Madeleine has been a beloved teacher of writing throughout the world.