This is a collection of short articles about the author Leonie Campbell and her books 'Angels of Saigon' -new release! 'The Baby Merchants' coming soon. See www.bookworm.au.com
War and the Women of Vietnam.
The effect of war on the lives of thousands of women and children in the Sixties was devastating. Many young women took up arms against the Vietcong and the Americans, often giving their lives to protect their families and communities from the scourge of the enemy.
Their lives as peaceful women were changed forever by circumstances beyond their control. They suffered the indignity of capture, cruel torture and brutal rape. But for many women, the cruelest punishment of all was losing their children and extended families.
Leonie Campbell, author of Angels of Saigon presents a story of incredible courage in which the heroine Hung Van Thi Kim struggles with the forces of evil. She suffers but endures many events that would completely devastate a person with less resilience. The Vietcong murders her grandmother; Thi Kim; her sister and friend are sold into a life of degradation in the brothel in Hanoi; her sister and friend meet sudden death from opium and violent men.
“But this is also a voyage of hope as Thi Kim overcomes adversity,” said Campbell, “In a world full of intrigue and danger she finds friendship and finally true love.”
Campbell has traveled extensively throughout Asia and continues a search for people with fascinating life-stories that she can relate to her readers. He second novel, The Baby Merchants, also based in Vietnam, exposes the exploitation in the trafficking of young women and babies. Both of Campbell’s novels are available on-site at www.bookworm.au.com F: (07) 40991265 and Whileaway Bookstore Port Douglas QLD Australia F: (07) 40994361
Angels of Saigon.
Author Leonie J. Campbell successfully portrays the life-story of a young Vietnamese woman, Hung Van Thi Kim, whom is captured by rapacious mercenaries and sold to Cao, a depraved warlord. Cao turns a profit by selling her to the immoral Madame Wu who controls life in a brothel in Hanoi, where drugs and violence prey on the young women trapped there. Thi Kim’s lifetime struggle with corrupt officials strengthens her resolve to survive. She develops friendships with many courageous women, as she strives to protect homeless children in Saigon.
Campbell’s contacts, with Vietnamese women who told her of their personal tragedies, gave her the inspiration to write this novel. Campbell’s extensive experience, in the newspaper industry in New Zealand and Australia, has sharpened her powers of observation and writing as she travels widely throughout Asia. Her second novel The Baby Merchants exposes the trafficking of minors across the borders of Cambodia, Myamar and China. It uncovers the highly lucrative market of selling babies for profit that is endemic in many Third World countries.
Both books may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com,
The Plight of Women and Children in Asia.
Leonie J. Campbell, author of Angels of Saigon, has in-depth experience with the problems inherent in South East Asia. Her insights were gained by living closely to the people during her time in Hanoi, Vietnam. Campbell’s background in the newspaper industry heightened her awareness of the struggles of women and children in Third World countries.
She was told by Vietnamese women friends, “All the stories of the Vietnam War are about men! Please tell the stories of the women’s struggle and loss of family.”
Campbell spent fourteen months in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her intimate involvement with the Hanoi International Women’s Club enabled her to experience first hand the desperate needs of the women and children. Her novel Angels of Saigon portrays the life of a young woman, Hung Van Thi Kim who faces corruption, death of her family and extreme danger as she strives to save the lives of homeless children on the streets of Saigon. Lecherous villains menace her every move and corrupt officials are determined to control this woman of the people. Many courageous friends are bound to her troubled destiny. Finally she finds true love.
Campbell’s second novel, The Baby Merchants, deals with the seedy world of “Babies for Sale” and the corrupt practices involved in the trafficking of minors over the borders of Myamar, Cambodia and China. Both novels may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com
Through the eyes of a writer.
Leonie Campbell spent fourteen months living in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her inspiration for Angels of Saigon was her contact with the Vietnamese women, who asked her, “Why don’t you write about the suffering of the women and children.” Campbell’s compassion for the hardships faced by women and the children of Vietnam, encouraged her to write a fictional novel based on the lives of women who had survived the Vietnam War. Loss of their children and families and the oppression of Communism changed their lives forever.
During Campbell’s time in Hanoi she was asked as an author to speak to European children, between ten and –twelve years of age, at the Unis United Nation’s school. She introduced them to her first novel for young people, Cat’s Tales. This is a series of short stories about cats and their adventures, published in English and Vietnamese.
Campbell presented the school library with ten copies, which were to be used for studying the Vietnamese language. The children shared their interest in writing poetry and short stories and Campbell explained why she enjoyed writing.
One young American girl said, “I write in my diary each day! My time in Vietnam has been so different from my home town in Texas.”
A young French boy commented, “My family has lived in Hanoi, Vietnam for three years. My father speaks fluent Vietnamese with Government officials. He expects his family to understand the language, so that we can learn about the people. I have been writing of my experiences, especially when we travel to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or the Mekong delta.”
Campbell told the children, “ Writing has become a passion for me. I become totally engrossed in the story and suddenly it becomes alive. The characters take over and plot unfolds, which is often different from what I had in mind. The story has a life of it’s own; it’s magic! I am merely the instrument that types down the words, as they tell the story.”
A child from Korea best described her vision of writing by saying, “In my country women are now being encouraged to become writers. Students are permitted to write about the culture and history of our country.”
Campbell agreed, “It is wonderful that your government has recognized the writers in your country. Perhaps the Government of Vietnam will relax it’s control of new authors and the world will be given an insight into the latent talent waiting to be discovered here.”
Both books may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com
An insight into writing novels.
Leonie Campbell, author of Angels of Saigon and The Baby Merchants attributes her story-telling skills to her late father, Lewis Cairns-Cowan.
“He had an amazing skill of describing to his children wonderful stories drawn from his imagination. My love of writing was encouraged by him and even as a child I wrote stories for my own pleasure.”
Campbell’s extensive travels throughout Southeast Asia and Uzbekistan encouraged her to write about what she observed in the lives of the people. Campbell lived in Hanoi Vietnam for fourteen months, where she joined the Hanoi International Women’s Club. Her experience with the charity committee and UNICEF broadened her outlook about the poverty prevalent there. Her commitment to the women and children in Vietnam encouraged her to write about their lives as told to her by local women. Angels of Saigon describes the lives of women and children after the Vietnam War. Loss of family, coupled with the consequences of poverty and deprivation, had far-reaching effects on the people of Vietnam. Campbell’s second novel, The Baby Merchants, deals with the taboo subjects of the selling of babies to foreigners and the trafficking of young people over the borders of Cambodia, Myanma and China.
Campbell stated, “This situation has improved to some extent since I was there in 1997-1998. The Government of Vietnam has recently taken steps for better control if its borders taking action against people perpetuating these appalling practices. If readers are informed about these crimes against women and children in Third World countries, their added awareness may help attain world peace in our life-time.”
Both novels may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com
Selling young women to feed the family.
“This was the only way to buy the seed for our winter rice crop”… “I thought that after my daughter had worked for six months in a brothel, that I could bring her back to her family in Vietnam.” A Vietnamese mother in the Central Highlands of Vietnam uttered this damning statement. Trafficking of young women and youths is endemic in South East Asia; the victims of corrupt people who profit from the sale of these victims of poverty. The young people are introduced into a life of degradation, hard labor and hard drugs in China, Myamar and Cambodia. The author Leonie Campbell lived in Hanoi, Vietnam for fourteen months, during 1997-1998. During this time she saw the effects of poverty on the Vietnamese people, their lives had improved marginally during post-war years. Her compassion for the young people drove her to write the ‘Baby Merchants’ to tell the western world of these shocking events and let them decide for themselves.
Both Books may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com
Babies for Sale.
“I was shocked at the condition of the babies in the Orphanages in Hanoi, Vietnam,” said the Author, Leonie Campbell. “The physical and psychological state of the small children showed them to be listless, and covered with infectious sores. The babies’ heads were flattened due to lying in one position for long periods. They were unable to respond to stimuli and cried if touched.” She said. “
Members from the Hanoi International Club Charity Committee were determined to improve the living conditions for the children and proved medical aid, and caring members who stimulated these sad children with love and play. Few children are true orphans; the majorities are sold by desperate parents with large families. These babies are sold to foreigner’s, to anyone who will feed and support them. After passing a medical examination the new parents are free to remove these children to their home country. “Boys are generally the preferred child, the selling price is much higher than for girl’s said Campbell, “Unfortunately young girls if not adopted will end their lives on the street in prostitution, on drugs.” Many children now live overseas with parents who delight in these special children. But who teaches them their own language, their own culture, of their families left behind. This compelling novel is a must read, a learning experience – ‘The Baby Merchants.’ See www.bookworm.au.com for further information.
Profile of Author.
Leonie J. Campbell worked with the Hanoi International Women’s Charity Committee in their endeavors to alleviate the suffering of the Vietnamese people. The club in conjunction with UNICEF worked on ‘Clean Water Projects’ in the provinces surrounding Hanoi, Vietnam. They gave freely of their time to children in Orphanage’s, donating medical aid. The members visited pre-school’s and donated money to pay for up-grades on the premises, and paid for adults to care for the small children so that their older siblings could attend school. Campbell has the utmost respect for these tireless women who raised thousands of US dollars that they donated to many other worthwhile causes. Campbell lives in Sydney, Australia and has written ‘Angels of Saigon’ and ‘The Baby Merchants.’ Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Campbell worked in the newspaper industry for many years. Living in Hanoi, Vietnam during 1997-1998 heightened her interest in the plight of people living in Third World countries.
See www.bookworm.au.com for further information.
Profile of the Author.
Leonie J. Campbell traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam during 1997-1998. She and her partner John McCoy lived amongst the Vietnamese people and learnt to respect their remarkable attitude of forgiveness and tolerance. In post-war Vietnam many people still suffered poverty, illiteracy and lose of family. Campbell’s involvement with the Catholic Church, UNICEF and the Hanoi International Women’s committee gave her insight into the needs of the people. The committee gave aid in the form of medical equipment, involvement with ‘Clean Water projects’ and many others. Campbell compassion to the plight of people in need, encouraged her to write ‘The Baby Merchants’ which delivers a message of hope for the people of Vietnam. Her experience in the field of Advertising in newspapers in New Zealand and Australia sharpened her interest in Third World. She has traveled widely throughout Asia and continues to write about life there through her experiences. Campbell’s first novel ‘Angels of Saigon’ is based on the stories that were related to her by Vietnamese women, during her time there.
Books may be viewed at www.bookworm.au.com and Whileaway Bookstore Port Douglas QLD Australia F: (07) 40994361