HA NOI — Literature for children is a fat land to exploit, writer Phong Diep said at a seminar held by the Vietnamese Writers' Association (VWA) in Ha Noi yesterday.
The event aimed to provide writers who have written many books for children and representatives of book companies and publishing houses a chance to discuss the current situation of literature and its development.
While many people consider reading culture in Viet Nam to be degrading and many writers complained that they faced difficulties, Diep said writers of children's fiction had many opportunities.
"Previously, only Kim Dong Publishing House released books for children, now the market is full of companies operating in this field," she said, adding "the number of children's books has been increasing and are on display everywhere."
Diep pointed out that translated works held the upper hand in the market of children's books with best-sellers being translated into Vietnamese to help young readers approach the world of literature.
Translator Ta Quang Hiep agreed that translated books are more popular and sold better than the works of Vietnamese writers.
"Together with Vietnamese works, translated books play an important role in literature," he said, "but many translators tend to select superficial books that are merely entertaining and not educative."
"It's necessary to assemble a force of professional translators for children's books," Hiep suggested, "They should understand children and translate what's good for them."
Speaking at the seminar, Le Phuong Lien from the VWA, who has worked as an editor at Kim Dong Publishing House for many years, reviewed the rise and fall of Vietnamese literature in historical periods and emphasised that literature developed and integrated into world literature earlier in the century.
Many Vietnamese books for children have won international prizes such as Vua Nham Mat Vua Mo Cua So (Open the Window, Eyes Closed) by Nguyen Ngoc Thuan, which grabbed the Peter Pan Prize from the International Committee for Children's Books in 2007 in Sweden. Nguyen Nhat Anh's Cho Toi Xin Mot Ve Di Tuoi Tho (Give Me a Ticket Back to Childhood) won the Southeast Asian Writers Award.
Lien desplored the fact that a book is published with 1,000-2,000 copies while the national population is 80 million.
"Many people lack of books to read," she said. — VNS