Writing in Burma: A New Year, Old Fears

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…

The Bamboo Sea

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  

Rakhine 2a

Rakhine Ethnic Literature Workshop

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…

Ethnic Kayan Lahwe Ladies

Kayah Ethnic Literature Workshop

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…

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Chin State Ethnic Literature Workshop

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

PEN President in Burma

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…

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Live Storytelling Event

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…

Source of the Irrawaddy river, Kachin State

Dissident Blog Article

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…

Kachin writer N-Gan Tang Gun leading the workshop

Kachin Short Story Workshop

  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…

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Mon Short Story Workshop

Following on the from the success of the Hpa-an workshop, Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State was the location for the second round of the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds, ethnic short story workshops. Respected short story writer and literary editor, Saya Lay Ko Tin, led five days of short story creation instruction at the Millennium…

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Pen Myanmar Conference 2013

Wednesday 27th is National Day in Burma.  It is also the day Burma officially gained its own Pen Chapter.        . Around 80 writers, editors and publishers attended the all day event in the Parl Room of the Asia Plaza Hotel on Bogkyoke Aung San Road.  Among those present were poets Zeyar Lynn…

MPBA Workshops – Yangon

The last week of October saw the Myanmar Publishers and Booksellers Association’s first annual free literary conference and workshop.  Sponsored by Kanbawza Bank and Taw Win Centre and held at the UMFCCI building on Min Ye Kyaw Road, 400 people attended each of the three days devoted to literature discussion and debate. Day One focused…

DELTA Foundation Update

Here is an update of the work of the DELTA Foundation by Pete Berechee DELTA Foundation & REAL library update, October 2013 Ayeyarwaddy Drifting Travelling up the riverine waterways to Nwe Ni Khine’s home, I was entranced as the boat drifted by a lush & verdant landscape, bathing buffaloes and dabbling ducks, herons skimming and…

Hpa-an Workshop

Hpa-an Ethnic Short Story Workshop

The British Council, Hpa-an Millennium Centre and Karen region literature committees collaborated on a Short Story Workshop in Hpa-an (21st October – 25th October)   The British Council, in collaboration with Millennium Centres, leading Myanmar authors and regional literature associations, is spearheading a three year literature project named, ‘H² – Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds’, with…