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Veteran author To Hoai’s books reprinted

 VietNamNet Bridge – Three books by To Hoai, winner of the Ho Chi Minh Prize for Literature in 2006, have been reprinted by two leading publishers in HCM City to celebrate the writer’s second death anniversary.

VietNamNet Bridge – Three books by To Hoai, winner of the Ho Chi Minh Prize for Literature in 2006, have been reprinted by two leading publishers in HCM City to celebrate the writer’s second death anniversary.



Writer’s Notebook: Three books by veteran author To Hoai have been reprinted by the Phuong Nam Book and Literature Publishing House in HCM City to celebrate the writer’s second death anniversary. - Photo


His memoir Co Dai (Wild Grass), first published in 1944, featured the writer’s childhood in Ha Noi and his thoughts about friendship, love and life.

His other publications are Nhung Guong Mat (The Faces) and So Tay Viet Van (Writer’s Notebook).

Nhung Guong Mat was first published in 1995, featuring the life and career of 12 veteran writers who played a role in advancing contemporary literature, including Huy Tuong, Nguyen Hong, Vu Bang, Vo Huy Tam, Nguyen Binh, and Vu Ngoc Phan.

So Tay Viet Van describes To Hoai’s writing career. It is valuable for literary and historical lecturers and researchers, as well as for students from universities and institutes.

The three books have been reprinted by the Phuong Nam Book and Literature Publishing House.

To Hoai was born Nguyen Sen into a craftsmen’s family in Thanh Oai District of Ha Dong Province (now Ha Noi) in 1920. He spent most of his childhood in his mother’s native village, now Nghia Do Ward in Cau Giay District. He held various jobs before beginning to write in the 1940s

To Hoai is well-known for several works, including De Men Phieu Luu Ky (Adventures of a Cricket) in 1941, O Chuot (Hunting Mice) in 1942,  Nha Ngheo (Poor Family) in 1944, Truyen Tay Bac (Stories of the Northwestern Region) in 1953, and Ba Nguoi Khac (Three Others) in 2006.

His De Men Phieu Luu Ky has been reprinted several times, attracting millions of children for years.

He has written more than 100 works of different genres, from short stories, multi-series long stories, memoirs, novels, film scripts, essays and commentaries.

The writer, whose pennames also included Mat Bien, Thai Yen, Mai Trang, and Pham Hoa, died in 2014 in Ha Noi.

Adventures of a cricket

Hoai wrote the first version of De Men Phieu Luu Ky in 1941 when he was 18. One year later, it was released after the author created more fictional characters.

The 195-page children’s book is about the adventures of a cricket who leaves his nest to travel and discovers the world.  

He improves by learning new things and experiences with the help of many insects and animals.

The cricket and his adventures have captured the imaginations of different generations of readers, particularly children, and is one of the country’s most famous books for children.

Since 1986, extracts from the book have been used in textbooks for secondary school students.

To Hoai told local media that when he was a boy he often played with his friends near the To Lich River.

“One day I saw a cricket who told me about his adventures, so I decided to tell his stories to my young readers,” he said.  

De Men Phieu Luu Ky has been printed in 37 languages, such as English, French, Thai and Russian. It is popular in many countries.

Each new edition with new illustrations and interpretations allow the cricket and his friends to become close to readers.

In Thailand, the book is sold with a plastic figurine of a cricket as a gift for children and one was sent by the publisher to the author.

In Germany, it was published with a notebook with characters in the story such as crickets, grasshoppers and mantis.

The book’s latest 143-page version in English, Diary of a Cricket, published by Kim Dong Publishing House, is available at online bookstores.    

"I read De Men Phieu Luu Ky when I was eight years old. The book encourages children to try new paths and works, and discover the world rather than stay home," said Do Kim Thoa, a reader and mother of an 11-year-old daughter in HCM City.

"At the age of 74, our cricket is still young. He is the close friend of me and my daughter and many Vietnamese children forever," she added.  

Last year, a bookshop named “The Cricket’s Shop”, operated by To Hoai’s children at his house in Cau Giay District in Ha Noi, opened and attracted many children every weekend.

The shop offers To Hoai’s books and many literary publications for children by foreign and Vietnamese writers.

“We hope the shop will become a familiar place for To Hoai’s fans,” Nguyen Thi Cuc, the author’s wife, said.

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