Vietnamese author in Finland won this year’s Runeberg prize

Runeberg Prize winner Quynh Tran. Image: Barbro Ahlstedt

Vietnamese author Quynh Tran from Jakobstad in Finland has won this year’s Runeberg prize for his book ‘Skugga och svalka’ (Shadow and Coolness), YLE writes.

Tran and his family moved to Finland from Vietnam in 1989 and in the book, the 32-year-old author reflects his own background telling a story of a Vietnamese family in a coastal Ostrobothnian town. 

The Runeberg prize was first given in 1986 and is handed out on Runeberg Day, the annual celebration of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, one of the national poets of Finland who also has a cake named in his honor. The prize is awarded by Uusimaa newspaper, the city of Porvoo, the Union of Finnish Writers, the Finnish Critics’ Association, and the Society of Swedish Authors in Finland and is worth 20,000 euros.

The award for ‘Skugga och svalka’ was given to the Vietnamese author because:

 “Tran’s novel does not accuse or offer ready explanations but gives the reader a chance to interpret for themselves. The distinctively-voiced novel is a refreshing addition to Finnish literature, a varied and beautiful package.”

The book is Quynh Tran’s first and he was very surprised to receive this kind of recognition.

“I don’t quite believe it yet,” he told Yle. “The prize is a really big surprise. I have only just gotten used to the idea that people read a book that I’ve written.”

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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