Maika Nguyen (Chi Nguyen Mai)

School: School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Supervisor: Professor Mary Gallagher

Funding: Irish Research Council

Writing Home? Haiti and Vietnam in Postcolonial Autofiction in French

This project centres on migrant autofiction written in French and the way in which migrant writers engage with the idea of ‘home’ from a displaced position. I explore the narratives of loss, return and recovery written in French by two émigré authors, Dany Laferrière and Anna Moï, who work respectively between Montreal, Paris and the Caribbean and between Paris and Vietnam. In examining their autofictional depictions of both their returns and their recollections, I draw out the conditions under which their home - in the context of the colonial models of 'French Americas' and French 'Indochina' - has been created, as well as the ways in which it is re-created, shaped and negotiated through displacement and return. As such, Laferrière's and Moï's depictions are responses to tensioned relationships that have shaped or ruptured stable conceptualisations of 'home': between colony and metropole, mobility and dwelling, global and local, human and environment... In a globalised world, in which migration can be forced, embraced, desired and denied, the question of where one can find their home is also a question of how a home can be (re)built.