Jolie Phuong is an award-winning author and a math professor at Niagara College. Hamilton is the city that marked a new beginning for her family–a land of breathing free and of endless opportunities to create a brighter future.

Sheltered by her parents, she grew up with ten siblings in the town of Quang Duc during the Vietnam War. She fled the country with five siblings in May 1983. After surviving nine days at sea, they arrived in Indonesia and lived in the Galang Refugee Camp. Assisted by the Mountain Fund to Save the Boat People, in July 1984, they resettled in Hamilton. Her father and youngest sister perished at sea in their attempt to escape Vietnam a year later.

Mathematics helps her mind stay focus but writing has healed her soul. Words have disentangled thoughts mixed with endless unanswered questions about fate. Jolie Phuong’s latest book, Three Funerals for My Father: Love, Loss and Escape from Vietnam (2021), is a poignant story of love, grief and resilience based on her immigration story.

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Hamilton, ON, Canada

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