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Quality literature in dramatic slump

Update: November, 29/2013 - 08:57

HA NOI (VNS)— Writers and critics have said the quality of literature in Viet Nam has seen a dramatic slump in the past 15 years.

A recent conference in Ha Noi discussed the nation's literary crisis across a range of fields, describing Viet Nam's current deficit of experienced writers affecting the quality of local literature.

Addressing the conference on Wednesday, Prof Dao Duy Quat described the problem as a lack of "great talents and geniuses" rather than a shortage of "good writing skills".

"Many artists don't bring their ideology or a real passion to their writing. They don't portray real life or key issues such as the doi moi (renewal) process and Viet Nam's modernisation. They haven't ‘lived and died' with their works and their characters," he said.

Writer Vo Thi Xuan Ha called for greater support for the nation's writers, while film director Nguyen Thuoc urged that the best encouragement was "creating an environment where artist creativity was respected and they were allowed to create strange and unreasonable things. Then art will have the opportunity to develop."

Popular writer Chu Lai analysed the recent decline in the standard of literature, saying: "Literature, cinema and theatre have exploited various angles of present life but there are no top literature works despite many calls, conferences and encouragement from relevant agencies," he said.

Writer Suong Nguyet Minh explained that the lack of high quality literature was due to a lack of qualified or visionary writers drawing on unique or challenging experiences. Minh also said that writers lived stable lives with minimal sources of inspiration in comparison to writers who lived through wars and focused on subsequent themes of sacrifice and love.

However, writer Phung Van Khai said he appreciated the role of young writers producing work during the past 15 years.

"They are trying to write good pieces and we should appreciate that," he said. "Let's encourage them to experiment with new ways of writing."

Findings from the conference will be sent to the Government to guide the development of cultural and art based initiatives. — VNS

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