Belgian author Nicolas Ancion will repeat his feat of writing and publishing a novel online within 24 hours during his visit to Viet Nam.
Yesterday, Ancion finished the first part of the novel by writing for 12 hours in Ha Noi. Entitled Un leger vent de panique (A Slight Panic), the novel tells the story of a Belgian man who runs his business in Ha Noi, and his love affair with a Vietnamese girl. The rest of the novel will be written in HCM City on September 30.
Ancion, whose books for adults and children are highly appreciated in Belgium, arrived in Viet Nam on Wednesday and will attend several events in Ha Noi and HCM City.
This is the first time that Vietnamese readers have a chance to follow the writing process of a writer. Ancion writes for an uninterrupted 12 hours in Ha Noi and 12 hours in HCM City.
He accomplished this feat in Brussels in 2010 and in New York last year, finishing a book in 24 hours without any rest or sleep.
He said that before starting a book, he has no idea what he will be writing. The night before a writing marathon, he dreams about the problem.
“When I set foot in Viet Nam and decided to attempt the writing marathon, ideas came to my mind every few minutes. But I hadn’t decided what my novel would be about until I set to work,” said Ancion.
One thing he can make sure is that he will tell a Vietnamese story, based on what he knows about Viet Nam through the memories of a Vietnamese friend who lives next door to his home in Belgium.
“I’m not sure whether my writing will be successful and that the Vietnamese readers will like my novel,” he said. “I just want to experiment the new way of writing a book.
Ancion added that while writers often show readers a finished book, the result of their work, he wants to show the process of his work.
“It’s interesting when the readers follow me and my work. They leave comments and their predictions about the fate of the characters in the story,” he said.
Ancion will also host two seminars on short story writing for students, and will interact with Vietnamese literary experts in Ha Noi and HCM City.
On the occasion, the Nha Nam Company will release the Vietnamese translation of his novel Quatrieme Etage (Fourth Floor). The author will interact with readers and give autographs in both cities.
Ancion said that it took him two years to write the novel and that the translators spent an equal amount of time to finish the translation.
“I can spend a couple of years to write a novel and just 24 hours for another,” he said. “For me, that’s a wonderful experience.”
“Writing a novel doesn’t depend on time. It depends on the writer’s emotion, experience and inspiration,” said Ancion.
“In term of quality, I don’t think there’s a difference between a novel written in 24 hours and another one that takes two years. They are two types of literary works.”
Ancion, born in 1971 in Belgium, graduated from the University of Liege and started pursuing screen and short story writing. He has already published more than 20 books of all genres, fiction, short stories and poetry. Some of them have been adapted into plays and movies.
He won several international awards for young authors in 1989 and 1991.
Humour is an important feature in the work of Ancion. The literary supplement of the French newspaper Le Mond rated him as an heir to Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland).