Vietnamese writer Tran Mai Hanh speaks at the granting ceremony (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Vietnamese writer Tran Mai Hanh was awarded the 2015 South East Asian Writers Awards (SEA Writer Awards) for his novel “Bien Ban Chien Tranh 1-2-3-4.75” (War Minutes January-April, 1975) .

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana presented the honour to the writer at a ceremony in Bangkok , Thailand on December 14.

Speaking at the ceremony, writer Tran Mai Hanh said he is proud to receive the award, adding that the selection of his book for the award has woken up memories of Vietnamese people’s great sacrifices for national independence and unification.

Published by the National Political Publishing House in 2014, Hanh’s novel won the highest prize in the prose category by the Vietnam Writer’s Association that same year.

It covers the historic fall of the American-backed Saigon regime and the fate of most of its leaders.

The 19-chapter novel is based on interviews with and confessions from figures in key positions in the Saigon regime. It depicts the collapse of defence lines around Saigon in detail by drawing on original telegraphs, meeting minutes from regime leaders, newspaper articles and Saigon radio broadcasts between January and April of 1975.

In the 2015 reprint of the novel, the publishing house added 21 documents collected by Hanh after April 30, 1975, which were considered top secret minutes of the puppet government.

Hanh, a veteran journalist of the Vietnam News Agency, was a member of the agency's special mission to cover key military units that marched south to liberate Saigon in the spring of 1975. He now works as a senior advisor of the To Quoc online newspaper.

The SEA Writer Awards , which was first co-organised in 1979 by the Thai Royal Family, the PEN Club of Thailand, and the Thai Writers Association, aims to discover and promote leading literature talents in the region.

As many as 18 Vietnamese writers and poets have won the award since Vietnam sent first entries to the award in 1996.-VNA