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Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, author of “The Mountains Sing”, joins Room to Read Author Advocates

July 19, 2021

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San Francisco – July 19, 2021 – Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai has joined Room to Read’s Author and Illustrator Advocates, a global network of book content creators with a shared passion for the power of storytelling to bring diverse experiences to life and bridge divides. The network engages bestselling authors and widely recognized illustrators in activities that support Room to Read’s mission and promote the power of literacy and books to change the world.

"Growing up in the rural areas of Vietnam, I have personally witnessed how books can change lives, empower people and help them become compassionate global citizens," said Quế Mai. "I am thrilled to work with Room to Read to help enhance equal access of children to books and educational opportunities so that no child will be left behind as we work together to build a more inclusive and just world. In particular, I look forward to supporting girls to pursue their educations and chosen life paths, expanding access to school libraries in high-poverty areas, and fostering a culture of literacy and love for reading within Vietnam."

Quế Mai is the author of eleven books of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese and English. Her writing in Vietnamese has received the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, and First Prize in the Poetry Competition celebrating 1,000 Years of Hanoi. Her debut novel and first book in English, "The Mountains Sing," is an international bestseller and has won several international book prizes and awards including the 2021 International Book Awards and the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for "a work of exceptional quality" and a "contribution to peace and reconciliation". Her second novel in English, "Dust Child," is set in Vietnam and forthcoming with Algonquin Books. She has been named by Forbes Vietnam as one of 20 inspiring women of 2021.

Born in a small village in the North of Vietnam, Quế Mai migrated with her family to the Mekong Delta, when she was six years old. A scholarship enabled her to travel outside Vietnam and attend university in Melbourne where she graduated from Monash University with a bachelor’s in business management and business administration. She also holds a PhD in creative writing from the UK's Lancaster University. She founded Chắp Cánh Ước Mơ Volunteer Group in Vietnam and helped set up libraries at the National Pediatrics Hospital and the K Tam Hiệp Hospital for children living with cancer. She believes in the impact and power of storytelling and has been working with her refugee students in Indonesia on an anthology of their own writing.

Room to Read’s Author & Illustrator Advocates contribute exclusive content for Room to Read Book Club members, participate in events and campaigns for Room to Read supporters, and programmatic activities in communities where Room to Read operates such as capacity building workshops for local authors and illustrators and life skills sessions focused on gender equality.


About Room to Read 

Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. We are achieving this goal by helping children in low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls to build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and other partner organizations to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. Room to Read has benefitted more than 23 million children across 20 countries and over 40,700 communities and aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Learn more at  

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