Prolific writer takes Grand Prize at art awards

June 01, 2023 - 07:21
The 4th Dế Mèn (Cricket) Award winners were announced yesterday (May 31) at Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s headquarters.
Vietnam News Agency's General Director Vũ Việt Trang congratulates the grand-prize-winning writer Trần Đức Tiến. Photos courtesy of the organisation board

HÀ NỘI — The 4th Dế Mèn (Cricket) Award winners were announced yesterday (May 31) at Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s headquarters.

Thể Thao Văn Hóa (Sport & Culture) daily, the awards organiser, gave five awards including a grand prize entitled Hiệp Sĩ Dế Mèn (Cricket Knight) and four others called Khát Vọng Dế Mèn (Cricket Desire).

Veteran writer Trần Đức Tiến won Cricket Knight for his book Alo!.. Cậu Đấy À? (Alo! Is That You?). He wrote the book in 2022 comprising 23 short stories about three animals named Cóc Tía (Toad), Sóc Bông Lau (Squirrel) and Lizard.

The writer personifies the animals as children with different personalities. The friends love and help each other and overcome challenges and have interesting experiences.

The award-winning book also contains valuable lessons about friendship, tolerance, the spirit of solidarity and patriotism.

Born in 1953 in the northern province of Hà Nam, Tiến lives in the northern province of Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu. He is a prolific writer with works for both children and adult readers.

His works for children were honoured with the first prize at a competition funded by a Vietnamese-Danish project on fostering literature for children and the second prize at the National Book Awards.

He has received top prizes at writing competitions for children held by the Việt Nam Writers' Association and Việt Nam Council for Child Protection and Ministry of Education and Training.

"I'm moved to be awarded the Cricket Knight title which honours people who have contributed to developing art and literature for children," said Tiến at the ceremony yesterday.

"The prize will be a good reason for me to continue writing for children."

Tiến is the second winner to receive Cricket Knight following the first winner writer Nguyễn Nhật Ánh in 2020. The title is the grand prize to honour the lifetime achievements of authors who have contributed to work for children.

The Cricket Knight was not given out in 2021 and 2022 as no entry met the criteria.

"It is great that the Dế Mèn Awards have been given to the winners in four consecutive years even during the COVID pandemic in 2021," said VNA General Director Vũ Việt Trang.

"The award is meaningful in attracting the participation of authors at home and abroad to promote art and literature creativity for children."

Dế Mèn Award is named after the character in the famous Vietnamese literary work Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký (Adventures of a Cricket) by writer Tô Hoài. It was launched in celebration of his 100th birthday.

The work is popular in many countries and has been printed in English, French, German, Japanese, South Korean, Chinese, Russian and others.

Dế Mèn Awards is held annually to look for the best works for children and written by children. This year, the award organiser received some 120 works which are innovative in content, form and style and are well received by children.

Ten works were short-listed and judged by jurors including poet Trần Đăng Khoa, deputy-president of the Việt Nam Writers' Association; veteran artist Thành Chương, musician and poet Nguyễn Thụy Kha and the daily's editor-in-chief Lê Xuân Thành.

Four Dế Mèn Desire awards were given to Hoàng Nhật Quang for his painting series, Lạc An, Mộc An and Uông Triều authors for their story and manuscripts.

Hoàng Nhật Quang is one of the four Cricket Desire winners.

11-year-old Quang is from the Tày ethnic group in the northern province of Lạng Sơn. Quang began to draw at age 9.

"I like his painting series very much," said artist and jury member Thành Chương. "I am surprised by his ideas and shaping. I think he is a phenomenon and will further develop his talent in the future."

Over four seasons, two Cricket Knight and 18 Cricket Desire awards have been awarded to domestic and international writers and artists. Five of the award winners are children. — VNS