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Vietnamese publisher bestowed French knighthood

Nguyen Nhat Anh, Director of Nha Nam Culture and Communications JSC, one of the most popular publishing houses in Vietnam, was named a Knight of France on August 16 for his contributions to introducing French ideology in the Asian country.

On behalf of the French Minister of Culture, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Action at the Embassy of France in Vietnam Etienne Rolland-Piegue conferred the distinction of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Order of Arts and Letters) to Anh at a ceremony in Hanoi on August 16.

The French Counsellor congratulated Anh, who is also a freelance translator, for the award, saying he and Nha Nam have succeeded in making children’s literature important in Vietnam by publishing a series of children’s books by French writers such as “Le petit Nicolas” (Little Nicolas) by Rene Goscinny and “Le petit Prince” (Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Anh has contributed to introducing French books and ideology in Vietnam and promoting cultural diversity and cooperation between the two countries, he noted.

Nha Nam’s director said he was honoured to receive the noble tittle. The award was a result of the team of editors and translators at Nha Nam who have been working with passion for books and French arts and literature in particular, he added.

Nha Nam will improve the quality of its translation and editing to bring the best Vietnamese version of French books to local readers, he said.

The Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, established in 1957, is in recognition of significant contributions to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.

Nguyen Nhat Anh, who writes under the penname Trac Phong, has translated some popular French works like “Le petit Nicolas” and “Le petit Prince” into Vietnamese. He has also written comic books under the penname Thu Nho.

Since its establishment in 2005, each year Nha Nam Company publishes 30 to 70 titles by famed French writers like Marcel Proust, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas, Alphonse Daudet, Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Marguerite Duras.

Anh has worked with the French Embassy and other agencies to host various workshops, exhibitions and book launch ceremonies in Vietnam so Vietnamese readers can get to know French writers and their work.