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The 2021 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize is now open for submissions via Submittable through August 31, 2021.

Names for Light

A Family History
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint
Names for Light traverses time and memory to weigh three generations of a family’s history against a painful inheritance of postcolonial violence and racism. In spare, lyric paragraphs framed by white space, Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint explores home, belonging, and identity by revisiting the cities in which her parents and grandparents lived. As she makes inquiries into their stories, she intertwines oral narratives with the official and mythic histories of Myanmar. But while her family’s stories move into the present, her own story—that of a writer seeking to understand who she is—moves into the past, until both converge at the end of the book.

Born in Myanmar and raised in Bangkok and San Jose, Myint finds that she does not have typical memories of arriving in the United States; instead, she is haunted by what she cannot remember. By the silences lingering around what is spoken. By a chain of deaths in her family line, especially that of her older brother as a child. For Myint, absence is felt as strongly as presence. And, as she comes to understand, naming those absences, finding words for the unsaid, means discovering how those who have come before have shaped her life. Names for Light is a moving chronicle of the passage of time, of the long shadow of colonialism, and of a writer coming into her own as she reckons with her family’s legacy.

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-64445-061-1
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Pages
272
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, a lyrical meditation on family, place, and inheritance

About the Author

Thirii Myo Kyaw  Myint
Credit: Dennis Shyu
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint is the author of The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven. She has a BA from Brown University, an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD from the University of Denver. She teaches at Amherst College. 
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Upcoming Events

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint appearing virtually at Bookbar

Date:
MST
Location:
Bookbar in Denver, COview map
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint appearing virtually at Bookbar. This event will take place via Zoom. Registration details to come.

Graywolf Literary Salon: Six Voices for Today

Date:
CDT
Location:
Zoom in Minneapolis, MNview map

Join Graywolf Press for an evening of reflection, resilience, and hope.

Hear from six talented writers as they read from their work, reflect on the past year, and share their hopes for our collective future.

Admission to this online event is free, but we encourage donations to help complete Graywolf’s New Chapter Campaign, a $3 million initiative to strengthen our publishing program.  We have approximately $200,000 left to raise, and we have been fortunate to secure a one-to-one match of $100,000 to help us close the campaign. In this time of challenges and change, we have been buoyed by the creativity of our writers, the loyalty of our readers, the strength of our staff, and the generosity of our donors.  Thank you for your continued support!

Praise

  • “[A] hypnotic memoir. . . . In lyrical prose, Myint straddles dream and reality. . . . Her poetic narration is indisputably alluring. . . . This serpentine narrative is a thing of beauty.”Publishers Weekly
  • “Names For Light is itself the “place” where the family’s past – and Myint’s dynamically evolving present — approach each other. The tug and pull of these forces, and the broader awareness of tyranny in the world, comprise an environment for the reader that is both demanding in its multiple vectors and gratifying in its patterning and acute intelligence.”On The Seawall
     
  • Names for light celebrates storytelling’s role in survival without excluding the animating presences of absence and silence.  A guidebook for every world – above, below, between – Names for light is a stunning achievement.”—Selah Saterstrom
  • “Myint’s geographies and her syntax will echo inside you like luminous ghosts: opulent and ruthless and profound, like drowned sapphires waiting to be reunited with the wind.”—Lily Hoang
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