SADAIK

A ‘sadaik’ was once a wooden chest, used by Buddhist monasteries and Royal palaces to store fragments of poetry, sermons and court records. In this digital sadaik, you will find reviews on books in English translation, biographies of writers and other news and thoughts on literature in Myanmar.

The British Council in Yangon will be celebrating World Book Day on the 25th April downstairs in their library. For the children there will be a colouring competition and story-reading sessions in the morning and afternoon.  In the evening, writer and activist Dr Ma Thida (Sanchaung) will deliver a talk on ‘lets read for the […]

Maung Khine Zaw is a non-fiction writer and author of two books on Yangon.  In the 1990’s he contributed articles on the city to ‘Myolaw (City) Magazine’ published by the Yangon City Development Committee.  These articles were republished in book form titled, ‘Account of the Past in the City and its Suburbs’ by Gonhto Sarpay […]

  According to Reddit user Backforward24 it is.  Yesterday, Coconuts ran an article on a literary map of the world uploaded onto Reddit which purportedly shows the favourite book in each country.  Backforward24’s choice for Myanmar was Nu Nu Yi (Inwas)’s inspirational ‘Smile as they Bow’ translated into English by Alfred Birnbaum and his wife […]

  I chose ‘Interesting Places of the Past in Yangon’ for the first of the non-fiction reviews for its ‘every-book’ qualities.  There is a common thread in many non-fiction books in translation from Myanmar; usually a collection of previously published articles in a journal; slim and invariably either focused on culture, travel spots or religious […]

  The National League for Democracy came to power at the end of March 2016.  Let’s see what has happened for literature in the year since: In April 2016, poet and publisher Moe Way was named as one of the 5 finalists for the prestigious International Publishers Association Freedom to Publish award.  Moe Way’s Eras […]

Despite his prominence as the author of the first true novel in the Burmese language, too little is known of James Hla Gyaw’s life. He was born on the 21st June 1866 in Shwegyin in Bago Region to Buddhist parents who died when he was just a child.  Adopted by his aunt, he converted to […]

    The Review: James Hla Gyaw wrote himself into history with his story of ‘Maung Yin Maung and Ma Me Ma’.  Prior to its publication, literature in Myanmar was the reserve of monasteries and palaces.  ‘Jatakas’, stories based on the life of the Buddha were (and are) perennially popular, as were long-form poetic homages […]

I was heading East from Hpa-an, the sluggish capital of Burma’s Karen State, towards a monastery infamous for the alleged body-napping of a dead monk by the Burmese military in the late 1990’s, when i heard of the death of the freelance journalist, Ko Par Gyi.  In the car with me was a former political […]

I was honoured to be invited to guest blog a piece for the Bamboo Sea this month for a special month long series of shorts on Burma Many thanks to James Martin, writer and creator of Bamboo Sea Read the full piece here  

And so it ends. After 11 months, 9 workshops, 7 ethnic states, 12 languages, 16 ethnic minority groups, 8 live literature nights, over 100 participants, over 50 short stories collected (so far) the final Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds workshop took place last week. Due to security concerns in Rakhine state, unfortunately, we had to move […]

The penultimate Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds workshop took place in Kayah State at the beginning of June. Once a black zone where foreigners were forbidden to travel beyond the capital, Loikaw, Kayah State is home to three main ethnic groups, the Kayah, Kayan and Kayaw. It is these three groups that the workshop targeted, with […]

Holding a literature workshop in Chin state, the least developed state in the second least developed country in Asia was always going to pose challenges. All of the Hidden Words workshops, regardless of the location, follow a logistical template revolving around our 2 partners, the Millennium Centres who provide the workshop venue and live literature […]

John Ralston Saul is a Canadian writer with a long background in Burma, having spent a large part of the 80’s in South East Asia witnessing the repression of freedom of speech in the region’s literature.  In 2009 he was elected President of PEN International, the largest literary organisation in the world that supports freedom […]

The Hidden Words, Hidden World’s ethnic literature project started almost exactly one year ago. So far 5 workshops have been conducted. The first way back last August when poet James Byrne came to Yangon and trained 16 Burmese short story writers on how to deliver short story workshops. Cheers James. Since then H2 has been […]

The Dissident blog, Swedish Pen’s online journal for freedom of speech and freedom of creativity has just published their special ‘Burma’ issue.  Author, literary activist and Pen Myanmar director, Dr Ma Thida (Sanchaung), Poet and Bones will Crow editor, James Byrne, Poetess Pandora, and Irrawaddy Journal founder, Aung Zaw all report on the state of […]

  Ok, so i didn’t comment on the previous update like i said i would but i’m a bit behind on the bloggin’ and well, the fact the Irrawaddy lit festival changed venue at the last minute pretty much says it all. On happier news, the 3rd workshop in the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds project […]