Literature Associations of Myanmar

*this post was updated in October 2017

Not so long ago, under the previous military regimes, all self-governing literary and media organisations were banned with the sole exception of the Myanmar Writers and Journalists Association placed under the control of the Ministry of Information.

Up until 1989, all writers and journalists were automatically inducted into the MWJA (whether they wanted to or not) as ‘literary workers’, an anachronistic label that has, for some reason, become fashionable again under the NLD government.  After 1989, membership of the MWJA became voluntary with many writers opting not to join and instead finding support in informal circles of friends and fellow writers.  In 2012, in preparation for the dismantling of 50 years of pre-publication censorship, the Ministry of Information relinquished state control of the MWJA, splitting the organisation into two independent entities, the Myanmar Writers Association and the Myanmar Journalists Association.  Out of the ashes of the MWJA sprung a multitude of independent clubs, societies, organisations and associations with writers, poets, publishers and booksellers keen to ride the wave of reforms.

Below is an incomplete list of organisations in Myanmar that are dedicated to the development of literature in the country as of 2017.  The list only includes those that I have had the fortune to work or speak with.  The list doesn’t include many other ethnic culture and literature associations, such as the Pao, Wa and Rawang.  Nor does the list include the many student literature clubs at universities or the numerous church and monastery based literature departments throughout the country.

Over the next few months, I will be adding separate posts for each of the organisations listed with a summary of their activities and linking the post to the name below which you will be able to click on.

In Yangon

  • Myanmar Writers Association
  • Pen Myanmar
  • Myanmar Poets Union
  • Myanmar Writers Union
  • Myanmar Literature Admirers Society
  • Poetry Lovers Association
  • Myanmar Literature Development Committee
  • Myanmar Publishers and Booksellers Association
  • Myanmar Translation Society
  • Myanmar Storytellers Association
  • Christian Artists Fellowship
  • Sarpay Beikmann
  • House of Literature
  • Printers and Publishers Enterprise

Beyond Yangon

  • Local Chapters of Myanmar Writers Association
  • Mon Literature and Culture Committee
  • Karen Culture and Literature Association
  • Kayah Nationalities Literacy and Culture Committee
  • Kayaw Culture and Literature Association Committee
  • Kayan Culture and Literature Association
  • Palaung Culture and Literature Association
  • Shan Culture and Literature Association
  • Lahu Culture and Literature Association
  • Khokant Culture and Literature Association
  • Lisu Culture and Literature Association
  • Hmong Culture and Literature Association
  • Kachin Culture and Literature Co-operation
  • Rakhine Culture and Literature Association
  • Chin Association For Christian Communication
  • Northern Moon Literature Group (Burmo-Kachin)
  • Mali Hpungtsin (Kachin)
  • Wunpawng Shingni (Kachin)
  • Dharmadaya (Nepali/Gorkha)
  • Damachaka Organisation (Mon)

International Literary Organisations in Yangon

  • British Council
  • French Institute
  • Goethe Institute
  • Sylt Foundation
  • Hedda Foundation
  • PEN International

2 Comments

  1. Hi U Myo Aung, thanks for the comment, unfortunately i didn’t write the association biographies for that issue, but if you contact the editor Emily Hawkesworth, i’m sure she would be happy to print a correction in the next issue.

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