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Posts Tagged ‘Literary’

Nguyen Nhat Anh meets with literary friends in Bangkok

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

During my days in Thailand, people call me by my nickname “The last one.” In international practice, the order of representative delegations is classified according to the first letters of their countries’ names.

Vietnamese writer ‘Nguyen Nhat Anh’ at the ceremony of the S.E.A Writer’s Award in Bangkok November 14 2010.

When watching the Olympic Games or any other international sports festivals on TV, it was normal to see the Vietnam name appear in the final leg of the competition list, just before Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Wales.

However, this time I felt anxious to be in the final reading poems and speaking in a seminar while I was in Bangkok for the S.E.A Write Award, established to honor leading poets and writers in the Southeast Asian region.

On the day exchanging with Thailand people on the 30th floor of Bangkok Bank, poets and writers from Laos, Malaysia, and the Philippines went first. After a half an hour, I felt relieve to find that everyone had stayed for the remaining statements from the poets from Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Realizing my anxiety, Panadda Lertlumamphai, who chaired the seminar, explained the order was arranged in alphabetly.  “No problem,” I smiled, saying that in Vietnam, most important things usually come last. My explanation made Ms. Panadda and audiences burst out laughing.

Close friends

During my time in Bangkok, I met a close friend named Marjorie Evasco. This Philippine poet and I, joked most of the time. He quoted to me verses of poetry, which sounded lyrical, and praising womanhood.

Even before we begin, the sound of wind/ From the old temple of Ulun Danu quivers/ On the tips of our fingers and in our toes/ The dancer, Ni K’tut Reneng, knows it takes/ Ten sacred years to learn one gesture/ Of the wind’s caress on the skin of water.”

Marjorie slimed at me for my interest in her poetry and invited me to a book festival in her native country, the Philippines.

Another close friend, a Singaporean poet named Johar Bin Buang. When knowing that I was born in 1955, was beside himself with joy saying “You and me are at the same age.”  However, that night at the hotel room, I discovered in a summary record that he was actually born in 1958 and not 1955.

Johan Bin Buang’s poems are submerged with ‘religious inspiration’. I especially like the verse: “While asleep, we walk on the milky way, clutching twinkling stars and surveying the columns of light…” In addition, the verse, “I want to play the flute even in those distant lands,”

I like to smoke cigarettes. The only other person that smoked was the Thailand poet Zakariya Amataya. On the first day in Bangkok, I did not know where the cigarette shop was located, so whenever Zakariya went out of the meeting room, I immediately followed. Zakariya and I smoked outside the meeting room. He would ask me about my writing and expressed his admiration about my first book, which was published in 1984.

Zakariya, one of Thailand poets of from the renovation period, was born in 1975. There was many opinions and discussion around the decision to give him the S.E.A Writer’s Award. Some of the debates said his poetry broke from the ‘old order’, while other’s stated that it was too ‘irritating’.

To me, his poems were strange, quarrelsome and daring. Some of my favorite poems are: “A Quarrel with Silence, Can’t See the Sun, Teardrops of Time, The Physics of Truth, Five-legged Chair, In What Color shall I Record the Words of Sadness?, A Song neither Coming nor Going…”.

In the poem “There must be something” displayed new and fresh ideas “There must have been some errors/ between the cleavages of the human race/ that was lost in the Flood/ something that was not stowed on Noah’s ark/ something that the Old Testament did not record/ something that Nostradamus did not foresee… There must be some misunderstanding on this earth/ that has been lost from the database of the global population/ something that Plato did not anticipate/ something that Nietzsche did not mention/ something that Einstein did not calculate/ something that has been lost…”


I came to Bangkok knowing nothing about literature of neighboring countries. However, now we have translated and introduced a host of literary works from all over the world, including Europe, the US, China and Japan. Literature is a wonderful means in exploring the aspects of both country and people. Since a little boy, I have liked France and the US thanks to the writers of Victor Hugo and Mark Twain. In the same way, Gogol and Puskin make me love Russia.

Vietnam has many things in common with other Southeast Asian Countries, especially in religious and cultural fields. Therefore, we need to further develop collaboration and growth between all countries.

The literary exchange among ASEAN countries is the beginning in this development and a way of ensuring more understanding and hope. I have dreamt about a Southeast Asian literary magazine, which will gather ASEAN writers and poets’ together, once a year, in order to encourage each country’s language development and growth.

Source: SGGP

Good films grow from literary roots

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

Scripts are the bridge between literature and movies. Many famous literary works have been adapted into films, which have been become classics in the movie world. Vietnamese writers have made outstanding contributions in development of the film industry of the country.

Actor Ngoc Ngoan and singer Nhat Kim Anh take roles of poet Nguyen Du and Ms. Cam in the film Long Thanh cam gia ca.

Vietnamese well-known literary works have been turned into movies that have successfully attracted audiences. Examples include: Vo chong A Phu (Mr. and Mrs. A Phu) by To Hoai, Tat den (Blowing out the flame of oil lamp) by Ngo Tat To (adapted into the film Chi Dau – Mrs. Dau), Chi Pheo by Nam Cao (adapted into the film Lang Vu Dai Ngay Ay – Vu Dai Village in the Old Time), Chua Dan (Dan pagoda) by Nguyen Tuan and Tuong Ve Huu (Retired General) by Nguyen Huy Thiep and more.

Modern examples include Trang noi day gieng (Moon in the Bottom of the Well) by Tran Thuy Mai, Canh dong bat tan (The endless field) by Nguyen Ngoc Tu and others. Some of them have won local and international awards.

The Vietnam Television Film Production Center has adapted books Ma lang (The ghost of village) by Pham Ngoc Tien, Bi thu tinh uy (The provincial party committee secretary) by Van Thao into TV series.

“The scriptwriter must understand and identify with the novels’ content and characters deeply as well as be inspired by the books to turn them into films,” said scriptwriter Tran Thuy Mai.

Writer and director Van Le said that he was inspired profoundly by the great poet Nguyen Du’s poem titled Long Thanh cam gia ca (Song of string instrument player in Thang Long), which tells a story of tribulation experienced by a woman named Cam, adapting the poem into a film by the same name.

There are many writers whose works have been turned into movies, including Nguyen Quang Sang, Chu Lai, Nguyen Khac Phuc, To Nhuan Vy, Nguyen Nhat Anh, Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, Tram Huong, Vo Phi Hung and Nguyen Thu Phuong.

Some of them have become popular scriptwriters, such as Nguyen Manh Tuan, Nguyen Quang Lap and Van Le.

Insiders hope that this connection between literature and movies will create more and better Vietnamese film scripts.

Source: SGGP

Literary works released to mark the 1,000th anniversary of capital

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

More than 50 literary works have been released by the Literature Publishing House this year to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Thang Long – Ha Noi.

                     Lan Khai’s collection

Song song Hong (Waves of Red River) by writer Thanh Hoa tells story of the most glorious period in the reign of Nguyen Hue (King Quang Trung), a national hero of the 18th century and the Tay Son Movement, a peasant uprising that released Vietnam from the shackles of feudalism.

Hanoi before the Autumn Revolution by Hoai Anh illustrates images of the capital from the beginning of the 20th century to 1943.

Lan Khai’s collection, a 1,700-page book, includes the most valuable works of the leading Hanoi writer.

Love story of Queen Nam Phuong by writer Tran Thi Hao describes the traditional beauty of the official wife of the last Vietnamese King Bao Dai, whose maiden name was Nguyen Huu Thi Lan, daughter of a rich Mekong Delta family.

The autobiography of labor hero Le Minh Duc, Cuoc doi nguoi tho (Life of a worker), traces the roots of the organizer from his birth in the Mekong Delta Province of Vinh Long to his success as a leader in Hanoi.

The autobiography of Mr. Nguyen Hong Can, the former Deputy Minister of Fisheries; Vietnamese novels within 1945 and 1975 edited by Dr. Pham Ngoc Hien, PhD include many more notable historical and cultural stories.

Source: SGGP