|Recognized talent: Cikada Prize Chairman Lars Vargo (right) gives the ceramic artwork as part of the prize to poet Y Nhi. — VNS Photo Thuy Hang
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese poet Hoang Thi Y Nhi is the winner of the Swedish literary Cikada Award 2015 "for her poetry protecting the sanctity of life."
The prize was granted to the HCM City-based poet at an award ceremony held last night at the Swedish Embassy in Ha Noi.
This is the first time that the award has gone to a Vietnamese poet. Earlier recipients were from Japan, South Korea and China.
Established in 2004 on the centennial of the Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson's birth, the prize is for East Asian poets in recognition of the importance East Asian poetry held for Harry Martinson.
The prize consists of SEK 20,000 (about US$2,300) and a ceramic artwork by Swedish artist Gunilla Sundstrom.
Y Nhi was born in 1944 in Hoi An. Through her experience of the Viet Nam war, she has woven together memories of individual destinies with expressive images from everyday chores.
Her works include Trai Tim Noi Nho (Yearning Heart, 1974, along with Lam Thi My Da), Den Voi Dong Song (Come to the River, 1978), Nguoi Dan Ba Ngoi Dan (Knitting Woman, 1985), Mouse Tuyet (1991) and Vuon (Garden, 1998).
Her most recent book is the 2008 essay collection Nhung Guong Mat – Nhung Cau Tho (Faces – Poems).
In Sweden, Nhi and her works have been presented in The Anthology Yesterday – Twelve Vietnamese Poets. Her poems also have been translated into Russian, Spanish, German, French and English.
Swedish Ambassador to Viet Nam Camilla Mellander said, "The Cikada Prize contributes greatly to the embassy's efforts to promote cultural exchange between our countries. For several years the Swedish development co-operation focussed strongly on cultural projects in different areas, like literature, art, music and support to artists just to mention a few. Thanks to this co-operation, the works of numerous Vietnamese authors have been translated into Swedish and that has brought Sweden and Viet Nam closer to each other."
She said culture is a vital part of the society and it influences how people perceive the world.
"Even though Sweden is on the other side of the planet, poetry has the power to bring people from different countries together and make distances disappear. Through the work of Y Nhi, people in Sweden will get a valuable insight into Vietnamese culture and daily life. They will also be able to relate the poems to their own thoughts and experiences," she said. — VNS