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HCM City writers climb on self-publishing bandwagon

Update: June, 25/2010 - 09:34

HCM CITY — Online writing is driving the Vietnamese literary scene, members of the HCM City Writers Association agreed as they discussed writing trends at a two-day congress which ended in HCM City on Wednesday.

Author and critic Le Van Thao, a former chairman of the association, said contemporary Vietnamese literature has caught the eye of many foreign readers, especially in other Asian countries like South Korea and Japan.

"With more young authors, particularly online writers and translators, entering the field in recent years, the literary scene has been developing at a fast clip.

"Online writing brings readers new writings."

He urged the association to study the market for online books and find out why certain kinds of works are popular.

Journalist-author Huynh Dung Nhan agreed, saying through online literature one can discern modern literary trends around the world.

"I like the fact that online literature reflects the changes in society, especially rural life," Nhan, who has been writing for more than 10 years, said.

"I think this new writing allows young people to explore."

Works by writers like Ha Kin, Trang Ha, Tran Thu Trang and Nguyen The Hoang Linh have all been the rage in recent years.

Written in a simple and engaging style, they have struck a chord in urban readers aged between 18 and 35.

Kin's Chuyen Tinh New York (New York Love Story) and Trang's Cocktail Cho Tinh Yeu (Cocktail for Love), for instance, are still searched for by several millions people though they debuted three years ago.

Nhan believed young writers are trying hard to introduce modern Vietnamese literature to the outside world.

"We want young people to remember that through their creative works, people [also] understand their traditional culture and lifestyle, not just their approach to art."

The meeting attracted 355 writers, translators and critics who have been instrumental in showcasing Vietnamese literature, especially modern, to the world.

Hard road

But even though many young writers are young and energetic, they face many challenges to keep going, poet Truong Nam Huong said.

"Some writers thing that creating works is not too hard and they have a bright future. They are too inexperienced to understand the duties of and pressures on an author."

He lamented the fact that most works of fiction, comics and poetry by young artists he had read were not quality, one of the many reasons literary critics ignore them.

"Becoming a professional writer is very difficult and youths should try their hardest to achieve their dream," he said.

Nguyen Ngoc Thuan shared his view, saying young writers first need to overcome the hardships of daily life before writing.

He writes children's books though many people tried to dissuade him by saying they are merely for entertainment.

Thuan, who won the first prize at the National Writing for Children Competition in 2001-02, infused fresh energy into the country's literary field through his Mot Thien Nam Mong (Children's Dreams), a work that weaves a colourful melange of dreams, mysticism, and humour.

His writing has been warmly received by leading publishing houses like Kim Dong and Tre (Youth), which have published many reprints of his books. His works have acquired the reputation of engaging youngsters' minds and making them think.

"Young writers seem to be too passive in creating," Thuan told a newspaper.

"Love for life and people will help young writers have enough energy and creativity," he added. — VNS

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