|The cover of the War Minutes novel by Tran Mai Hanh.
HA NOI (VNS) — Veteran journalist Tran Mai Hanh has just won the Southeast Asia (SEA) Writers Award 2015.
Hanh received the honour for his novel entitled Bien Ban Chien Tranh 1-2-3-4.75 (War Minutes January-April, 1975), released by the National Political Publishing House in 2014.
The novel had also won the highest prize in the prose category awarded by the Viet Nam Writers' Association last year.
Thailand's Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana presented the awards to eight writers and representatives from eight ASEAN countries at a solemn ceremony held in Bangkok on Monday.
Hosted by Thailand, the SEA Writers Award has been presented annually since 1979 to poets and writers of Southeast Asia, though not all countries in the ASEAN are represented every year.
The award is sometimes given for a specific work by an author, or for lifetime achievement. The types of works that are honoured vary and have included poetry, short stories, novels and plays, besides folklore and scholarly and religious works.
Hanh's non-fiction work covers the historic fall of the America-backed Sai Gon regime and the fates of most of its leaders.
The 19-chapter work is based on interviews with and confessions of figures in key positions in the Sai Gon regime. It depicts in detail the collapse of defence lines around Sai Gon by drawing on original telegraphs, meeting minutes of regime leaders, newspaper articles and Sai Gon radio broadcasts between January and April 1975.
Hanh was a journalist of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and was part of the agency's special mission to cover key military units that marched south to liberate Sai Gon in the spring of 1975. He now works as a senior advisor of the To Quoc online newspaper.
Addressing the ceremony, Hanh said the honour given to the novel has "awoken memories of the war that Vietnamese people had experienced".
"They sacrificed a lot with their great bravery to attain the present-day peace and reunification," he said.
Since 1996, 18 other Vietnamese writers have received the award. They are To Huu (1995), Ma Văn Khang (1998), Hữu Thỉnh (1999) and Nguyễn Khải (2000), besides Nguyễn Đức Mậu (2001), Nguyễn Kien (2002), Bằng Việt (2003) and Đỗ Chu (2004), as well as Inrasana (2005), Le Văn Thảo (2006), Trần Văn Tuấn (2007) and Nguyễn Ngọc Tư (2008), in addition to Cao Duy Sơn (2009), Nguyễn Nhật Anh (2010), Nguyễn Chi Trung (2011) and Trung Trung Đỉnh (2012), and also Thai Ba Lợi (2013) and Thanh Thảo (2014). — VNS