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Author illustration of Line Papin

Line Papin

Born in Hà Nội, LINE PAPIN moved to France at the age of ten. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: L’éveil (2016, Winner of the Vocation Prize), Toni (2018), Les os des filles (2019, Winner of the Readers’ Prize of Le Livre de Poche), Le coeur en laisse (2021), and Une vie possible (2022). She lives and writes in Paris. The Girl Before Her is her first book translated into English. 


The Girl Before Her

Kaya Press August 2023

French Vietnamese writer Line Papin’s stunning English-language debut, The Girl Before Her (Ink & Blood / Kaya Press, August 2023), offers a window onto the existential anguish of displacement as experienced by a child on the cusp of becoming a woman. Uprooted without explanation from the sunshine and chaos of Hà Nội at the age of ten, the narrator finds herself adrift in the unfamiliar, gray world of France and grappling with a deep sense of uncertainty about who she is and where she belongs. Lacking the words to express her growing sense of alienation, she stops talking, then eating. She’s hospitalized and almost dies from anorexia. Part meditation, part family history, part message in a bottle to her younger selves, Papin’s lyrical work of autofiction explores what it takes to embrace one’s multiracial, transnational self by making peace with the generations of women who’ve come before.

The Girl Before Her is the first book to be published by Ink & Blood, a new joint imprint from Kaya Press and the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN), which aims to bring Vietnamese literary voices from across the globe to English readers.




A fable, a dream, a nightmare, Line Papin’s sharp little book fits like a wedge between the ribs. Her tale, remarkably wise from one her age, is a perfect illustration of nostalgia as a homesickness so severe one can die of it, and Papin nearly does, transplanted from the warmth of family intimacy in Việt Nam to the bewildering grayness of France. In the end, her journey reveals itself to be a love story: for the past, for childhood, and for Hà Nội, but also, hopefully, for herself.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

More Praise for Line Papin:

“[Line Papin’s] pages on Hà Nội…  where life and death cohabit as if in the same aquarium, are magnificent”

— Nobel Prize winner Annie Ernaux

“After a remarkable debut, Line Papin chooses the intimate as raw material and delivers…. Her account is inhabited by the voice of her elders, but also by a visceral need to narrate herself in order to reconcile with herself. Her writing… remains bewitching and singular.”

— Elle France

Line Papin news

Join Line Papin on The Girl Before Her Book Tour

We are so excited to invite you along on the Fall 2023 book tour for The Girl Before Her, a debut English-language work of autofiction by French-Vietnamese author Line Papin! Check back here for new events and details.  Friday September 29th | 6-8pm EST | New York, NY  The Girl Before Her with Line Papin […]