Bao Ninh (L) accepting the only prize at the Asia Literature Award 2018 for his novel Noi Buon Chien Tranh (The Sorrow of War) (Photo courtesy of the writer)
The novel, which tells the story of a soldier who grows reflective as he collects dead bodies after a battle, won the only prize at the Asia Literature Award 2018 during a recent ceremony in the RoK.
“It was really a nice surprise to receive the award and I am happy about that,” said writer Bao Ninh, who has just returned from the RoK.
The winner was selected by a council of seven Korean writers and a publisher from all works available in the book market, Ninh told Viet Nam News.
Organisers invited nominated writers to the RoK for the award ceremony.
Ninh said many famous Asian writers were at the event including Han Kang from the RoK and Yan Lianke from China.
He told Viet Nam News the award was an affirmation of his success in writing and his contribution to promoting Vietnamese literature abroad, particularly in Asia countries such as Korea, Japan and China.
“I was honoured first of all by the admiration of Korean writers and readers towards Vietnamese culture and literature, and especially towards Vietnam’s resistance against foreign countries from 1945-1975,” said Ninh.
Ninh, whose real name is Hoang Au Phuong, was born in 1952. He is a novelist and writer of short stories best known for his aforementioned award-winning first book, The Sorrow of War.
During the anti-American War, he served in the 27th Youth Volunteer Brigade. Of the five hundred who went to war with the brigade in 1969, he is one of just 10 who survived.
The Sorrow of War, written in the stream of consciousness style, first won the Vietnam Writers’ Association Award in 1991.
The writer and his novel also won the third Shim Hun Literary Award in the RoK in 2016 and the 2011 Asia Literature Award from the Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan, among other honours.
Since its publication in 1990, the novel has been translated into many different languages and published in around 20 countries.
In the RoK, the novel was first available a long time ago, but the only accessible version was translated from the English version.
In 2012, it was translated directly from Vietnamese into Korean by Ha Jae-hong and published by Asia Publishing House.
The Asian Literature Award 2018 was part of the Asian Literature Festival 2018, which ran from November 6 to 9 in the RoK’s southwest city of Gwangju.
Twelve Korean authors and 11 other writers from 10 other countries including Vietnam, Thailand and Mongolia participated in the event.
This year marked the second edition of both the festival and award, which are held in order to encourage interaction and cooperation among Asian countries and to promote different cultures.