Delivering the opening speech, Charge d’Affairs of the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam Ylva Jansson stated that: “Since the diplomatic relations were established between Sweden and Vietnam almost 50 years ago, we have seen a continuous exchange of culture between our two countries. Literature and poetry have played an important role in this and the Cikada Award has contributed and has deepened the cultural exchange.
With funding from the Swedish government, the work of Vietnamese and Swedish writers have been translated and shared in both countries throughout the years. The translations has given the Swedish people a better understanding of the culture and everyday life in Vietnam.”
|Poet Mai Van Phan speaking at the ceremony
At the ceremony, poet Mai Van Phan expressed delight as becoming this year-winner. He said that he wants to show people how poetry can give us greater understanding of the life and culture.
Poet Mai Van Phan said: "We always have hope for a brighter future, like seeds that are sown in the darkness and move towards the light".
He explores the mystery and complexity of human nature and the natural world. A radiant dawn, a worm in the leaf, and the sigh of a woman... Mai Van Phan sees the world through the eyes of a poet who can see into another world.
With 14 poetry collections already published in Vietnam, Mai Van Phan is one of the Vietnamese contemporary poet that have the most work published in other countries. His poems have been chosen and translated into 24 languages such as English, French, Russia, Swedish, Spanish, Arab, Japanese, Chineses, Korean and Hindi.
He is also represented in international anthologies, for instance the Swedish Till: igår – tolv vietnamesiska poeter (Tranan, 2009), translated by Erik Bergqvist. Later this year the publishing house Tranan will publish a special collection of his poetry in Swedish, translated by Erik Bergqvist and Maja Thrane.
Previously, in 2015 Vietnamese poet Y Nhi won the illustrious prize.
The Cikada Prize was established in 2004 by the Swedish Institute on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish Nobel Prize laureate in literature 1974, Harry Martinson.
The name of the award was inspired by Martinson’s poetry collection “Cikada which was published in 1953. The Cikada Prize is given to an East Asian poet, who “in his/her poems shows poetic sensitivity for the inviolability of life”. By Linh Bui