A book recently launched by Literature Publishing House features Vietnamese and foreign writers including the great To Hoai.

Entitled Chuyen Lang Van (Stories about Literature Circles), the work comprises interviews and writings by author Di Li, whose real name is Nguyen Dieu Linh, a free-lance columnist for several periodicals.

The piece on To Hoai, recorded when he was 82, focuses on literature for children and his views about the young writer generation.

"The interview gave me an excuse to meet one of the writers I admire the most. Unlike his humorous writing style, in real life he appears calm, serious and a little unfriendly," Di Li said.

"He keeps on top of current issues, which explains his profound understanding of modern life."

To Hoai, real name Nguyen Sen, was born in 1920. Regarded as "a great, ancient tree" of the Vietnamese literary circle, he is known for works such as De Men Phieu Luu Ky (The Adventure of a Cricket, 1941), Truyen Tay Bac (Story of the Northwest, 1953) and Phuong Tay (The West, 1967). In addition, he is one of the few famous writers from the pre-revolutionary period still alive.

Other portraits included in Stories about Literature Circles centre on veterans Kim Lan, Phan Thi Thanh Nhan and Tran Dang Khoa as well as up-and-coming writers Vi Thuy Linh and Do Hoang Dieu alongside foreign authors from the US, Germany, Italy, Australia, France, Denmark, Japan, and South Korea.

Di Li is a member of the Vietnam Writers Association. She has published 11 books and is especially known for Trai Hoa Do (Red Flower Farm), which is the first mystery horror produced in the country.-VNA