Viet Nam News
Writer Nguyễn Xuân Thủy has become popular recently with his fiction Sát Thủ Online (Online Killer), which has since been adapted into a television series of the same name. The series was aired on Việt Nam National Television’s channel 3 earlier this year.
The book won first prize at a writing contest launched by the Việt Nam Writers’ Association and the Ministry of Public Security in 2010.
Some 20 years ago Thủy was a soldier on the Trường Sa (Spartly) Islands, although he showed writing ability when he was a high school student in the northern province of Phú Thọ.
He is currently a sub-editor at the Văn Nghệ Quân Đội (Military Literature and Arts) magazine, and deputy-head of the Young Writers Department at the Việt Nam Writers’ Association.
Hoàng Lan Anh interviews Thủy before the 6th Literature Age 20 writing contest for young authors. The contest’s winners will be announced in September.
You are a member of the Việt Nam Writers’ Association and take charge of young writers. How do the young writers perform?
The young writers now are more independent in thinking and creativity. They are more intelligent and make informed choices to develop their writing ability. They are also more up to date with international literature than previous generations.
The winners of awards like Literature Age 20; the Military Literature and Arts Short Story Award; the Literature and Arts Newspaper Short Story Award, and many others are well deserved.
I believe these winners are deeply attached to literature and will be more creative in the future.
Do the young writers make popular works like the generations before them?
Young people are always promising to make changes and develop literature. I was very interested in the creativity of the young writers of my time. I think that young writers are always welcomed by readers.
The young writers at present seem to be not as enthusiastic as the older generations, however.
Do you agree that a successful writer not only writes books for his readers, but also finds ways to reach new audiences?
In the beginning a writer usually writes about what he has in his mind. After that he needs to write for his readers, and then he will write something to attract and win new readers’ hearts.
Many young writers are active in reaching new readers. They use a variety of methods to do this.
Firstly, they produce works which bear the stamp of their nature. After that they begin working in public relations; advertising and making good use of the internet to connect with readers.
Young writers like Minh Nhật, Hồng Sakura, and Ang Gào have a great number of readers. They have hundreds of fans at their book signing events. But to become a literature phenomenon is difficult even for established writers, not just young ones.
I highly appreciated young writers such as Huỳnh Trọng Khang and Đào Quốc Minh, whose creativity is recognised and awarded by the Hà Nội Writers’ Association.
It seems that many works by young writers lack unusual elements to attract readers. What do you think?
Works by Hà Thủy Nguyên and Đỗ Nhật Phi, the winners of the 5th Literature Age 20 contest, have many unusual elements, but it is not popular. I don’t think that unusual elements are the only criteria to assess the works of the young writers.
Drifting from the norm is important depending on the style of the writer. There needs to be a distinction between unusual writing styles and unusual content. It is easy to write unusual things in mystery fiction, detective fiction, horror or adventure books.
I want to say that unusual styles in literature mean that the writing is unique and distinctive, to impress not only the readers but the profession as well. The young writers have not done this.
Do the young writers prefer to write short stories or longer fiction works?
Many young writers are popular with their fiction works. For example, writer Nguyễn Bình wrote the long story Cuộc Chiến Với Hành Tinh Phantom (A Fight with Phantom Planet) in five volumes. Writing short stories or longer fiction is a personal choice. -- VNS