Bảo Ninh

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Bảo Ninh
BornHoàng Ấu Phương
(1952-10-18) October 18, 1952 (age 66)
Nghệ An, Vietnam
OccupationNovelist, essayist, short story writer
GenreMemoirs, war stories, short stories
Years active1990–present
Military career
Allegiance North Vietnam
Service/branchFlag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg Vietnam People's Army
Years of service1969–1975
UnitGlorious 27th Youth Brigade
Battles/warsVietnam War

Hoàng Ấu Phương, also known by the pen name Bảo Ninh (born 18 October 1952 in Nghệ An), is a Vietnamese novelist, essayist and writer of short stories, best known for his first novel, published in English as The Sorrow of War.[1]

During the Vietnam War, he served in the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade. Of the five hundred who went to war with the brigade in 1969, he is one of ten who survived.

In 1987, Bảo Ninh published Trại bảy chú lùn (Camp of Seven Dwarves), a collection of short stories. He has also written a second novel, Steppe, but is said to be reluctant to publish it.[2]

In 2018, in an interview with The Caravan magazine, Ninh said that "it's not a good time to publish a novel in Vietnam," when asked about his reluctance to publish further. The article shed light on his troubles dealing with his wartime past and censorship in Vietnam, more than forty years after the fall of Saigon.[3]

A short story by Bảo Ninh, "A Marker on the Side of the Boat" (Khắc dấu mạn thuyền), translated by Linh Dinh, is included in the anthology Night, Again.

Bảo Ninh is also a successful essayist. He is interviewed in Ken Burns's series The Vietnam War.


  • The Sorrow of War - 1990
  • Hanoi At No Time - 2003
  • Rambling while stuck in traffic - 2005
  • Are old stories true? - 2009
  • Selected writings - 2011
  • Short story - 2013


  1. ^ Christina Schwenkel The American War in Contemporary Vietnam 2009 p.63,"In contemporary literature, popular novels by Dương Thu Hương (1996), Nguyễn Huy Thiệp (1992), and Bảo Ninh (1993) have contributed to an emerging genre that challenges revolutionary heroism and explores the bleakness and hardships of war rather than its glories."
  2. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (2006-11-19). "Why Vietnam's best-known author has stayed silent". The Observer. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  3. ^ Inani, Rohit (2018-10-01). "The Long Silence of Bao Ninh". The Caravan.
  • Palmos, Frank, Ridding the Devils, Bantam, Sydney, London 1990. ISBN 0947189599