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Article  •  12 May 2023


This ‘transcendent’ new novel is a must-read for literary fiction fans

Anam by André Dao has entered the world to warm reception. With exceptional reviews, it’s clear that this author’s star is rising. Learn more about his book, and see what reviewers are saying.

Anam by André Dao is a literary feat by one of Australia’s most talented up-and-coming authors. Though Dao has won awards for his writing in the past – including, but not limited to, a Walkley Award for radio/audio feature, a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (VPLA) for an Unpublished Manuscript, a Quill Award for reporting on multicultaral affairs and a media award from the Australian Human Rights Commission – it is this debut novel that cements his place in the world of Australian literary culture.

A work of autofiction, this part-memoir, part-novel is twelve years in the making. It started with Dao interviewing his grandparents to learn about their life stories and over time has transformed into an investigation on what storytelling means in the context of culture, family and selfhood.

While Dao was initially unsure whether his writing would appeal to broader audiences, winning the VPLA proved that his message was more than a niche meditation on his own family history.

Since Anam's publication on 2 May 2023, the book has garnered even more praise from some of the country’s most influential media outlets. With praise coming from The Guardian, The Australian and more, it’s clear that Australian readers are hungry for Dao’s writing.

Anam has even surpassed the written medium, with Kate Evans mentioning it on ABC Weekend Breakfast TV in great surprise to the author. 'I had not expected to see Anam on a TV screen!' Dao said. 

On the wave of the book’s success, Dao is currently attending writers' festivals across the country.

Upcoming conversations with the author include a conversation with Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on 26 May and a reading on 27 May, both at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Learn more >

Reviews for Anam

  • Anam is a rigorous and generous book, which will sit with you well after reading. “We cannot transcend ourselves,” the narrator says. “Yet it is the promise of such transcendence that brings us back to literature.” Anam is transcendent.’ – Sydney Morning Herald
  • ‘A meditation on family memory and what it means to remember, Dao’s book never shies away from difficult truths. Equally complex and beautiful, Anam is a strange kind of family history page-turner.’ – The Guardian
  • ‘Dao has a mesmeric and unique style that is both brave and profound. A style that captures the voice of those that may not always have one.’ – The Australian
  • ‘Anam is an enthralling and challenging novel, with moments both painful and tender. It is a profoundly beautiful debut.’ – Readings


Want more? Check out a Q&A with André Dao, read an extract from Anam and learn more about upcoming events.

Feature Title

Anam: Longlisted for the 2024 Miles Franklin Award
'Transcendent.' THE AGE 'Anam is a beautiful book. I loved its hypnotic rhythms, its restlessness, the way memories, dreams and ideas, like waves, kept riding in over the top of one another, undoing and complicating everything. It is the work of a soulful and scrupulous mind.' MILES ALLINSON
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