Phong Nguyen - Bronze Drum

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 7:00pm
Wednesday, August 10, 7pm CT
In person at Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Masks required for in person attendance
Please RSVP for the presentation here
Virtually at Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page or YouTube Page
Image background is mint green with a darker green circle cut out. Author, Nguyen, is in a blue shirt. He is of Vietnamese descent with olive skin and short gray hair. A smaller circle features a conversation pattern, Ted Ibur, in a black shirt and jacket. He has short, salt and pepper-colored hair and olive skin. On the left side of the image is a cover of the book, featuring two women facing opposite directions with bronze hair ornaments. They’re against a dark green background and book title is in white.Left Bank Books welcomes Missouri author and professor,
Phong Nguyen,
who will discuss his highly anticipated new novel
Bronze Drum
in our store on August 10th at 7pm!
Nguyen will be in conversation with Executive Director of the St. Louis Literary Award
Ted Ibur.
Join us in person in the store or our YouTube & Facebook Live Page.
Order a copy of
from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!
Nguyen will personalize and sign copies for sale from Left Bank Books.
If you are unable to make it in person, leave a personalization note in your order.
Phong Nguyen is the author of three novels: The Bronze Drum (Grand Central Publishing, 2021), Roundabout: An Improvisational Fiction (Moon City Press, 2020), and The Adventures of Joe Harper (Outpost19, 2016, winner of the Prairie Heritage Book Award); and two short fiction collections: Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History (Mastodon Publishing, 2019) and Memory Sickness and Other Stories (Elixir Press, 2011). He is the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri, where he teaches fiction-writing.
Ted Ibur is the executive director of the St. Louis Literary Award series of programs at Saint Louis University. The St. Louis Literary Award has honored more than 50 writers since 1967 including Margaret Atwood, Chinuna Achebe, Zadie Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Saul Bellow, Seamus Heaney, and Arundhati Roy. Ted has worked as an English and writing teacher, musician, and writer for the most of his adult life. In addition to overseeing the dozen programs under the umbrella of the St. Louis Literary Award, Ibur is currently working on a collection of short stories. 

A stunning novel of ancient Vietnam based on the true story of two warrior sisters who raised an army of women to overthrow the Han Chinese and rule as kings over a united people, for readers of Circe and The Night Tiger.

Gather around, children of Chu Dien, and be brave. For even to listen to the story of the Trung Sisters is, in these troubled times, a dangerous act.

In 40 CE, in the Au Lac region of ancient Vietnam, two daughters of a Vietnamese Lord fill their days training, studying, and trying to stay true to Vietnamese traditions. While Trung Trac is disciplined and wise, always excelling in her duty, Trung Nhi is fierce and free spirited, more concerned with spending time in the gardens and with lovers.

But these sister's lives--and the lives of their people--are shadowed by the oppressive rule of the Han Chinese. They are forced to adopt Confucian teachings, secure marriages, and pay ever-increasing taxes. As the peoples' frustration boils over, the country comes ever closer to the edge of war.

When Trung Trac and Trung Nhi's father is executed, their world comes crashing down around them. With no men to save them against the Han's encroaching regime, they must rise and unite the women of Vietnam into an army. Solidifying their status as champions of women and Vietnam, they usher in a period of freedom and independence for their people.

Vivid, lyrical, and filled with adventure, The Bronze Drum is a true story of standing up for one's people, culture, and country that has been passed down through generations of Vietnamese families through oral tradition. Phong Nguyen's breathtaking novel takes these real women out of legends and celebrates their loves, losses, and resilience in this inspirational story of women's strength and power even in the face of the greatest obstacles.

"Bronze Drum lured me in. It's a richly spun, deftly written tale of bravery, legend, and resistance--a compelling read."-- Amina Gautier, author of At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, and The Loss of All Lost Things


Library Journal (07/01/2022):

Nguyen's third novel (after Roundabout) is based on real-life events in 40 CE Vietnam, when the Viet people rose up against the Han Chinese oppressors who were conscripting Viet men, forcing marriages, and levying exorbitant taxes on the populace. When their nobleman father is executed, the Trung sisters, Nhi and Trac, discard their feminine garb and became generals in the fight for independence of the Viet people. By the end of the first month of battle, they are joined by women from all walks of life, from aristocrats to farmers, and the Trung sisters ride into battle astride elephants, brandishing weapons and leading an army of 70,000 women in an effort to free their nation. Eventually the Viet people did regain their freedom and independence from the Han, but not without suffering terrible losses. VERDICT Nguyen's beautifully written novel will be an eye-opener to people who don't know the turbulent history of the Lac Viet and the Han. Readers who remember the Vietnam War, and the part the United States played in it, might come away with a better understanding of the region and its people.--Jane Henriksen Baird

Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


You can watch live on Left Bank's YouTube channel. To participate on Facebook, log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins). You can watch on either location without logging in, but in order to comment or interact with the program, you must be logged in.

Event address: 
399 N. Euclid Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63108
Staff Pick Badge
Bronze Drum By Phong Nguyen Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538753705
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 9th, 2022

Roundabout: An Improvisational Fiction By Phong Nguyen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780913785416
Availability: Special Order
Published: Moon City Press - December 13th, 2019

The Best Peace Fiction: A Social Justice Anthology By Robert Olen Butler (Editor), Phong Nguyen (Editor) Cover Image
By Robert Olen Butler (Editor), Phong Nguyen (Editor)
ISBN: 9780826363039
Availability: Ships quickly (1-7 days)
Published: University of New Mexico Press - September 15th, 2021


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