Chairman of Việt Nam Writers Association Nguyễn Quang Thiều. — Photo Vnexpress.net
A new literary award promoting young writers has been launched by the Việt Nam Writers' Association. The Award for Young Writers will be among official awards held from May to September 30 for authors under 35.
Thể Thao Văn Hóa (Sports & Culture) daily reporter Hiền Lương interviews the association Chairman Nguyễn Quang Thiều about the new award.
What is the aim and meaning of the new award?
The award aims to discover and find talent thereby making favourable conditions and helping them to find more confidence in their writing.
I see young people now like writing. They write a lot on social networks sharing their work. It is a good beginning for a writing journey.
We want to have a contest for the young writers showing that we pay attention to them, and we respect their very early writings.
At present, they are young writers but in 10 years and many years later they will be the key people in Vietnamese literature.
I'm glad to launch this contest. We will receive feedback from different people including readers, amateurs and professional writers.
What are the criteria for entry?
They need to be unique and distinctive. The work should mention the big issues in human life such as love, humanity, environment, and national sovereignty protection.
We would like to see the author's attitude and responsibility towards reality. Authors under 35 will be encouraged to be creative, which will be promising for future literature.
What is the advantage and disadvantage of organising this contest for the first time?
The first time will inspire both contestants and jurors. Plus, publishers and literature lovers are also interested. I think this is one of the most important things.
The first award is always received in expectation of readers, the public and the whole of society.
The difficulty is finding the best works. There are writers who haven’t cared and paid attention to publishing. They are still writing but they just introduce their work to groups or social networks.
While we just receive works that are officially published.
Life experience and writing style pose difficulties for young writers. However, we hope that they will join the contest as a way to share and exchange.
I have always thought that age does not affect talent. The literary history of Việt Nam has Vũ Trọng Phụng, Chế Lan Viên and Xuân Diệu, who were popular at an early age.
Some of the young writers have successful works on theory and criticism. In the field of translation, world philosophical works have been translated into Vietnamese by very young authors.
There are some other literature awards for young writers. How does the association’s award differ from these?
Of course, there is a difference. The contest is held for all writers in the country. I strongly support contests held by other organisations in cities and provinces. But the association’s contest is national-level.
This contest will award young translators who introduce Vietnamese works to the world.
What are the strong and weak points of young writers?
They are free to write expressing their personal point of view. They have a chance to read a lot and learn literary genres and popular writers of the world as well. This is very meaningful.
The young writers make literature fresh and diverse. I hope that they will gain experience to write better.
However, young writers are often skillful at writing works that show their personality without ideology. It is selfish.
They have an advantage of writing style and linguistics. But I see their emotion seems diminished.
If a literary work does not contain great inspiration and the writer's ideology it will be easily forgotten.
As chairman of the association, what would you say to young writers?
Live life to the fullest and feel free to write. A literary work is a combination of lifestyle, inspiration, thought, dreams and responsibility.
What will the association do to promote the contest winners?
Surely, we will. We will find a way to help them to publish their work. They will be given a chance to attend literary events and festivals in the region and throughout the world.
We will also encourage them to be association members. — VNS