Contributor spotlight: Linda Trinh

Hello readers! Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts meant to introduce you to the many talented contributors you’ll find in the pages of Alternate Plains!

In Linda Trinh’s Eggshells, a young member of Winnipeg’s Vietnamese community takes comfort in the presence of the fragment of mystic eggshell anchored at the Forks — but things take a dark turn with the appearance of another who knows of the shells, and says they are being hunted down by a sinister force.

Tell us a little bit about what inspired Eggshells.

I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and folklore of various cultures. Being of Vietnamese descent, I wanted to highlight the creation myth of the Vietnamese people. This is the union between the dragon and the fairy resulting in 100 eggs. That was my anchor for Eggshells.

As I worked with the idea of the origin story, that led me to explore related ideas of one’s beginnings and how far one wanders. I also enjoy weaving together elements of the ordinary and the extraordinary.

What do you hope readers get from reading Eggshells?

Most of us living in Canada have origins somewhere else, whether we ourselves have travelled here or the journey happened many generations ago. What does it mean to have ancestors in a different place? What does it mean to make a home here? What traditions do we recreate, modify, chase, or let go?

And we all live in this space together with people different from ourselves. So how do we have empathy for, and show empathy to, other humans sharing the same space, people who also carry their own grief, and traumas, and joys, and fears. How do we connect?

How has your time in the Prairies influenced your writing? 

I immigrated to Canada with my family when I was three years old. I have lived most of my life in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory, traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

I set most of my fiction here and that has really helped me delve into how setting informs the obsessions, activities, and choices of characters.

What do you feel anthologies, and short stories in general, accomplish that longer works like novellas and novels may not?

What I appreciate most about the short story form is how it is both focused and leaves things open. It’s like eating one great piece of chocolate – concentrated flavour with a lingering sense. That one bite could be more satisfying, or differently satisfying, than a whole meal.

For speculative fiction, a short story is even more amazing and challenging because of the limited word count for world building. 

I love short story collections and anthologies because of the diversity of voice, perspective, and scope of each piece, and yet all the pieces work well together.

What work have you done that’d you like the readers to know about too? Please share!

I write fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. And my central obsessions are identity, cultural background, and spirituality.

If readers are interested in more fiction, they can check out my short story, Sticky Rice Cakes, in This Magazine.

Readers are also welcome to check my creative nonfiction work that has appeared in various literary magazines referenced on my website.

What are you working on now? What can readers look forward to next?

I have two new creative nonfiction pieces coming out in Canadian literary magazines in the next few months. Also, I am querying my memoir manuscript that is about my personal spiritual journey that touches on Buddhism, world mythology, and travel to sacred spaces.

I’m currently working on an early chapter book series for kids with Annick Press. This series will be revolve around a Vietnamese Canadian family.

Readers can reach out to me here and follow me on Twitter @LindaYTrinh for updates. I love to connect with readers and writers.

Learn more about Linda at her website, Lindytrinh.com

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