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Children's Book Translator Receives Vietnam's First-Ever Andersen Literary Award

Inaugurated in 1996 by the Hans Christian Andersen Award Committee, the Fairy Tale of My Life Award has been presented to 65 organizations and individuals who help to preserve the legacy of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.

This year, children's book translator Tran Thi Minh Tam will join the ranks of previous winners that includes German author Gunter Grass, famous Danish figure Johannes Møllehave, actress Ghita Nørby, and many others. She is the first Vietnamese person to do so, Tuoi Tre reports.

According to the Award Committee website, to find out how Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales were able to resonate in a faraway country like Vietnam, the award committee reached out to the Danish Embassy in Hanoi.

The popularity of Andersen's fairy tales – whose name any Vietnamese child is familiar with – is largely due to Tam's 20-year career of translating his literary works. In 2003, she compiled a collection that consists of 88 children folktales, which later was expanded to 100 stories. Tam's collection has been republished 16 times and a new edition is scheduled for 2018. 

The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 3rd, in Odense, Andersen's hometown. The award is a copper figurine of an open book designed by Danish artist and sculptor Jens Galschiøt, who is famous for his conceptual series of sculptures 'Pillar of Shame'. 

Accompanied by ballet dancing, singing, stand-up, readings, and violin music, the award will be presented by the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs Mette Block, Mayor of Odense Peter Rahbæk Juel, and the awards' creative manager Christian Have. 

Alongside with Tam, the other two winners are Klaus Muller-Wille, a Swiss philosophy and literary criticism scholar awarded for his research on Andersen's modernity and the materiality of literature, and Sebastian, a Danish musician known for his musical renditions of Andersen's fairytales.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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