Writer Nguyen Nhat Anh: I sky the ball many times

Sunday, 2020-05-17 14:23:26
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Nguyen Nhat Anh is a best-selling author with many books that have been released in hundreds of thousands of copies
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NDO – Nguyen Nhat Anh, a best-selling author with many books that have been released in hundreds of thousands of copies and adapted into films with remarkable revenue, has said that practicing writing is like learn how to shoot a penalty. He cannot remember how many times he had skied the ball on the way to establishing himself as a well-known writer. He granted an interview to Nhan Dan (People) Monthly Newspaper to talk more about his writing career.

Question: How did you become a writer?

Writer Nguyen Nhat Anh: I liked reading books and loved literature since I was a child. This interest was nurtured when I listened to my grandmother, father, and uncle reciting poems and telling stories. I once thought that being a writer is something incredible. I even imaged that a writer must have two heads; if he only had one, it must be very big to store so many stories.

I love literature and then practiced writing, but I didn't know if I could become a writer or not because “writer” was a very vague concept to me at that time. It is clearer for a child who dreams to become a doctor or an engineer, as he needs to pass a university entrance exam for a medicine or engineering university. But it is vaguer for the one who dreams to become a writer. There are schools that provide training and knowledge about literature, but there is no school that can train you to become a writer.

Therefore, every writer and poet must learn by themselves to compose a poem, a short story or a novel in the first days following this career. There are books on writing experience, but I think that one’s experience may not be helpful for others in this field.

To put it simply, practicing writing is like learn how to shoot a penalty. All directions are useless when the football player stands in front of the ball with a racing heart. At first he does not know where the ball will travel after his kick, and it takes a long time for him to gradually learn how to place the ball, how much the momentum to put on the ball, how to place the foot, and how to select a corner of the goal to shoot at. I don’t remember how many times I had skied the ball before people called me a writer. The amount must be a lot, I guest.

Nguyen Nhat Anh has published various books for children and teenagers, including story sets, long stories, short stories and poetry.

You are the author of more than 100 book titles and have recorded hundreds of thousands of copies for the first issue of any new book. Have you ever thought of any change in your writing style or the topic of your novels?

This question is difficult to answer, because I am not sure changes are good or not and more importantly, I haven’t figured out why I need to change. If you read books by novelists such as Ernest Hemingway or Gabriel García Marquez, you can see that no matter the change in their topics, readers can “see” their signature identity in every page of their books. The identity can be seen through the writing style, the inspiration, and the setting of the story. That is what attracts readers.

It takes time for a writer to make readers recognise him after reading a page of book or even several lines. Therefore, there is no reason for him to hide away or change his personal identity in his works.

I want to refresh myself in writing several recent books. But refreshing is much different from changing because no one will be able to stand against himself.

Some of your novels have been adapted in films and recorded hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dongs. Have you thought of someday like this?

Absolutely not. I think nothing about films or figures while writing. A writer, in some way, is selfish. He just wants to satisfy nothing but his need to write when he is working. He doesn’t even think of readers or audiences in the cinema. Of course, he wants to receive positive appreciation from readers, but the aspiration rises after he finishes his book. If your mind is too busy with other things, your book will surely be 90% uncompleted.

If you intend to have your books adapted into films, it is better if you write a script right at the beginning. Regarding the film revenue, I would say that it was made totally thanks to the directors’ talents.

You are not only a writer but also a poet. Your novels include many beautiful poems and verses. Can you share us about your live for poetry?

Yes, I love poetry. I write poems for myself. My first book is a collection of poems. I found poetry to be a way to console my soul during my adulthood full of difficulties. However, I have spent more time for prose than poetry, so I try to blend my poems into my novels.

Thank you so much for your sharing!