'Consider the subjects of his stories- a child assassin in Colombia ('Cartagena'), an ageing New York artist desperate for a reconciliation with his daughter ('Meeting Elise'), a boy's coming of age in a rough Victorian fishing town ('Halflead Bay'), before the first atomic bomb falls in Japan ('Hiroshima'), The suffocations of theocracy in Iran ('Tehran Calling'). This astonishing range is topped and tailed by accounts of the uneasy reunion of a young Vietnamese writer in America with his ex-soldier father, and by the title story - the escape of a group of exhausted refugees from the Vietcong in a wallowing boat.
In 1979, Nam Le's family left Vietnam for Australia, an experience that inspires the first and last stories in The Boat. In between, however, Le's imagination lays claim to the world.
Nam Le's first book, The Boat, received the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize (Best Writing Award), the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award, among other honours. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor's Choice, the best debut of 2008 by the Australian Book Review and New York Magazine, and a book of the year by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Monthly, and numerous sources around the world. The Boat has been translated into thirteen languages and its stories widely anthologised. Le is the fiction editor of the Harvard Review.