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French writer for children inspires Viet Nam readers

Update: October, 13/2015 - 10:32
Love letters: Visitor reads entries of the letter writing contest inspired by Susie Morgenstern's novel. — VNS Photo Minh Thu

HA NOI (VNS) — Susie Morgenstern, a popular children's book writer in France talked with readers yesterday at the French Cultural Centre L'Espace.

She has been writing since starting her diary at the age of seven.

"Writing brings me a feeling that I'm alive," said Morgenstern. "Even when my book can't be sold it satisfies me at least. I can share my stories and feelings with people."

She confessed that she's a fan of social networking, the internet and smart phones like many people. However, "we shouldn't give up the habit of reading books", she said.

"The more books I write, the more readers I want to attract, obviously," she said.

"Though my book can sell millions of copies, I have to offer my grandchildren five euros to read my books."

On the same day, an exhibition of hand-written letters of Vietnamese students opened. It's the result of a letter writing contest launched three months ago.

The contest was organised by the L'Espace and Nha Nam Book Company, with inspiration from Morgenstern's book Secret Letters from 0 to 10.

The book has brought the author more than 20 awards worldwide and is one of her most popular books in Viet Nam.

It's a story of a sweet and intelligent ten-year-old Ernest who has a flat, colourless life until he meets Victoria, a free spirit who falls in love with him and bulldozes her way into his life.

Contestants had to write from the perspective of Ernest or Victoria and write a letter to the other.

The organiser received more than 50 entries which are displayed in the exhibition as artworks.

Morgenstern was born in 1945 in New Jersey, the US, but she has spent the largest part of her adult life in France. She studied in the US, then Israel and finished her PhD in France.

She has written about 100 books in English and French, most for children and teenagers. Her books have been translated into 30 languages. Those that have been translated into Vietnamese include Secret Letters From 0 To 10; First Love, Last Love; iM@mie; and The Sixth Grade.

She will give a talk at Nha Nam Bookshop, 59 Do Quang Street, Ha Noi on Wednesday.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ecole des Loisirs Publishing House, the exhibition "The Making of a Book is on-going at L'Espace, 24 Trang Tien Street, Ha Noi. — VNS

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