Nay Saysourinho talks to us about heterotopia, folktales and fairy tales, passive resistance and “passive” choices, motherhood, domesticity, and how she learned to find her voice as a writer from listening to her aunties gossip at home. Plus, the impact of the French language, the bond of la Francophonie, the nonchalance of Laotians, and all the things that get lost in translation….
Nay Saysourinho is a writer, literary critic and visual artist. She was the first recipient of the Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship from One Story Magazine, and has received fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, The Writers Grotto, The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and Tin House. She was a Rona Jaffe Fellow at MacDowell in 2020 and is a Berkeley Fellow at Yale. Her writing was a recent prize winner at the Tucson Literary Awards, and has been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Ploughshares Blog, Khôra, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. She also reads for Pank Magazine.
The eldest daughter of Lao refugees, she was born and raised in Québec and spent several years in Saskatchewan. Influenced by the folklore of her home province, the oral history of her diaspora, and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, her multidisciplinary work explores ways by which narratives are gathered, transmitted, and deciphered. She is currently completing her first novel, a modern fairy tale set in Southeast Asia, a short story collection about extinct species, and a series of fables using Lao weaving symbology. In June 2021, she joined an art research circle through the Nordic Summer University.