Ghi Dọc Cánh Rừng (Writing Along The Forest) by Lại Hồng Khánh has been published by Canadian Ukiyoto Publishing and is available on Amazon. It is the diary of a young teacher who becomes a soldier and travels across the Trường Sơn mountain range to the Southern battlefield in the 1970s.
Công An Nhân Dân (People’s Police) reporter Jy Khanh spoke to the author.
Your poems have appeared in foreign countries including Romania, India and Uzbekistan. Now your work has been published by a Canadian company for the first time. How meaningful is this to you?
It is great and I’m happy. My book has been published by Ukiyoto Publishing and is sold on Amazon. It is not only that my book is introduced abroad but it contributes to promoting Vietnamese literature to the world.
I think that the book is not only my personal writing but it is also thoughts and sentiments of our generation who “split up Trường Sơn to save the country”. I want to share the book to my peers and the younger generation.
I donated the hand-written version of the manuscript to the Museum of Việt Nam Military History five years ago. Now it is reaching international readers. So my happiness is double.
I want to thank translator Hưng Nguyễn, the editorial board of Ukiyoto Publishing and Vietnamese writer Kiều Bích Hậu who helped me a lot in the process.
Hopefully, readers around the world will get to know more about Vietnamese people’s souls during the fierce war with losses and sacrifices that helped unify the country.
When did you begin to write? Could you tell us about your first work?
I love literature and I was a bookworm when I was younger. I brought a notebook and pen to the battlefield when I joined the army.
When my unit crossed Trường Sơn range to the Southern battlefield I thought about writing a diary about the lives of the young soldiers.
I was a teacher before joining the army. During the operation from the northern province of Ninh Bình to the southern province of Tây Ninh, I observed and wrote every day for three months from January 1970 to April 1970.
The writing was printed in Writing Along The Forest by Lao Động (Labour) Publishing House in 2002. It was warmly received and reprinted in 2005; 2006 and 2007.
Memories of war have made the writers of our generation strong-minded to stay calm ịn every situation. We look at the problems from different aspects. As a result, our work has found sympathy among readers. And it makes me happy.
How did you take time for writing during the operation?
After a day of climbing slopes and wading streams under the bombs, we took a rest in hammocks in the forest. That was the time for me to write down what happened that day.
Is it right that you compose a poem every day?
After the war, I worked at Hà Nội Propaganda and Training Commission and continued as a writer.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the most serious health crises in human history, every morning I have watched the news from national media and taken notes as is my long-lasting habit.
I think I write poetry to express my feelings during the pandemic. I share the poems with my friends and they like my work because I highlight the events and the news that are of public concern. It is my reward.
In 2020, I published a collection of poems entitled Tinh Thần Việt (Vietnamese Spirit) about the fight against COVID-19 of Vietnamese. Last year, another poetry collection Mỗi Ban Mai (Every Early Morning) was published by Youth Publishing House. VNS