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Translate English to Vietnamese, Insight into Vietnamese art published in English

The Gioi (World) Publishers on Wednesday, Jan 30, issued a new book entitled Arts of Viet Nam 1009-1945, the first history to be published in English of the development of the arts throughout Viet Nam.

Arts of Viet Nam 1009-1945, Asian and Chinese arts, history of art

Hidden charm: The newly released Arts of Viet Nam 1009-1945 chronicles the development of the arts throughout Viet Nam.

Australian author Kerry Nguyen-Long said the book gave voice to the work of Vietnamese scholars which has long been "locked away" in Vietnamese books and journals.

Nguyen-Long said she drew on decades of research as well as recent discoveries of artifacts, records in family genealogies, and historical accounts.

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  "For many years, I was disheartened by the short information and cursory remarks on Vietnamese art in many applications around the world," she said. "In some ways, Vietnamese art is denied or considered as a part of Asian and Chinese arts."

Nguyen-Long said she nearly cried when she read false or inadequate information on Vietnamese art which may have diverted readers' attention from Vietnamese art altogether.

It wasn't worthy of the thousands-year history of art in Viet Nam, she said.

"I wanted to contribute to raising an equal and unprejudiced discussion on Vietnamese art. That's my motivation and the reason why I choose the period of feudalism in Viet Nam to research."

With over 300 illustrations, the publication fills the need for a book on a long-neglected subject and cuts across entrenched and outdated views. Most of the photos in the book were taken by the author's husband, Nguyen Kim Long, who also travelled

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many places to collect materials and helped his wife translate as she knew little Vietnamese.

The book introduces major categories of the arts from architecture to painting, presents them in historical context, describes their features in each period, and explains why, alongside enduring continuities, new styles emerged while others were abandoned.

It also explains different craft techniques and sculptural styles in different periods, as well as esoteric symbolism and its evolution across the millennium, and responses to the introduction in the 20th century of the concept of fine arts.   The author has a long connection with Viet Nam and has been writing on its arts for decades.  

Since 1999 she has been a contributing editor of the international bimonthly magazine Arts of Asia, published in Hong Kong, in which she writes on the arts of Viet Nam. Her work has also been featured in books, arts magazines, museum catalogues, and journals.

"The book is a great contribution to promoting Vietnamese identity," said The Gioi Publishers's director Tran Doan Lam. "With much information and many images, it proves that Viet Nam has its own art tradition which developed constantly over many centuries and that deserves to be recognised by world opinion."

The book was supported by the Australian Embassy as part of its programme to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Viet Nam.

Phillip Stonehouse, Australia's deputy ambassador to Viet Nam, said he realised at first sight that Arts of Viet Nam was a beautiful and important book.

"I came to Viet Nam 30 years ago and knew how hard the people lived," Stonehouse said. "But after 30 years, when I returned, I was so happy to realise that people have taken an interest in preserving and promoting culture. I believe that Kerry's book will play an important role in introducing Vietnamese art and culture to foreign countries."

The book is available at bookstores at a price of VND1.2 million (US$60).

Translator's memoir inspires readers to overcome adversity

A 34-year-old woman who has suffered from muscular dystrophy since she was a teenager has written a memoir entitled Khong Guc Nga (Never Collapse). Published by the Writers Association Publishing House in-conjunction with the Tri Viet-First Co, the book hits stores today, Jan 8.

Turning a new page: Nguyen Bich Lan signs a copy of the book she translated Life Without Limits. The disabled woman will release her own memoir Khong Guc Nga (Never Collapse) today.

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The volume recounts the struggles of Nguyen Bich Lan to overcome her own difficulties to find a profession as a translator and writer and become a useful member of society.

Born in 1976 in the northern province of Thai Binh, Lan was forced to leave school at the age of 14 due to her muscular dystrophy, a disorder that weakens the body and hampers locomotion. She decided to teach herself English and became so proficient that she became a professional translator in 2002. She has since translated 24 books, mostly novels, into Vietnamese.

Her translation of Slumdog Millionaire was granted the Literature Award for Translation by the Vietnamese Writers Association in 2010. Her

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translation, Life Without Limits by limbless writer Nick Vujicic, was published last month.

In addition to her memoir, Lan has also written poetry and short stories.

Lan's illness has weakened her heart and left her weighing only 30kg. She said she never had any intention to write her own memoir until she was convinced that her book could give some insights to others who "still grope their way in the dark of their destiny".

"Many people want to know how I self-study English and how I could survive when life challenges seemed to knock me out," she said. "Those questions helped me to start my memoir."

She spent two years completing the book even while translating two others and said she had the greatest difficulty writing about her own achievements.

"Although it is not easy to talk about my own successes, I understand that it is necessary. I want to prove that enduring will and patience can lead you to success."

Author Da Ngan called Lan "an extraordinary woman who has an extraordinary energy to overcome her disadvantaged situation to bring significance and meaning to her life as well as many others".

Italian rock band Lacuna Coil to perform in Vietnam

The famous Gothic Metal rock ban arrived in HCM City on July 18 to prepare for the performance on July 20.

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