Sadaik: A Manuscript Chest

Lucas Stewart is an author and editor. This is his sadaik. Here you can find his books, articles, essays and scribbles, mostly on literature from Myanmar.

Daw Mra Hninzi:  Translator, she was head of the foreign relations division at the department of immigration from 2000 – 2005, after she retired from government service she began her translation career.  Her translated books include ‘A brief History of Globalisation’ by Phillippe Legrain (which won the Sarpay Beikmann translation award in 2005), the ‘Bonesetter’s […]

Pen Myanmar released a report on World Press Freedom day last week.  The report reflects on the progress – or otherwise – on media and public freedoms in the one year since the NLD came to power.  Participants included journalists, lawyers and media experts from 14 organisations, including Burma News International (a confederation of ethnic […]

More than once someone has remarked to me that everyone in Burma is a poet.  The last to do so was Petr Lom, the director of Burma Storybook as we walked down 40th street in Yangon.  Poetry is often claimed to be the most popular form of expression.  Poets in Myanmar themselves are careful to […]

Mu Mu Winn is a writer and teacher.  She graduated with an MA in English from Yangon University and taught the subject there for 15 years.  Leaving Myanmar she worked in China, Laos and Bhutan for the United Nations, before gaining her MA in Education from Sussex University in the UK.  She spent the next […]

When a country ‘opens’ up after isolation or conflict, a type of literature is usually not far behind.  From Cambodia, it’s hard to find works in English that don’t cover the Khmer Rouge years.  From Vietnam, the memoirs of those that survived are prevalent.  It has been too soon since Myanmar’s opening to foretell what […]

The Goethe Institute, in collaboration with the Sylt Foundation will be holding an international reading event at the Myanm/Art gallery in Botahtaung on Thursday April 27th. 5 poets have been chosen to represent Myanmar by the Be Untexted literary journal: Zeyar Lynn, Zaw Lu Sein, Eaindra, Tha Kount Tharr and Mae Yway. They will be […]

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 […]

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 to Kings and Queens […]

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 […]