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 the goal of supporting freedom of expression in ethnic Myanmar literature and it’s showcasing abroad through short story workshops in the regional languages.
The first workshop was held in Hpa-an at the Millennium Centre from Monday 21st October to Friday 25th October.
For the first time, representatives from Karen State Literature Department, Karen Culture and Literature Association, Karen Baptist Literature Committee, Diocese of the Church of Anglicans Literature Committee, Pue San Paw Theological College Literature Dept and the Taungaley Monastery Education met to collaborate on the workshop
Yangon based writer, Ko San Lin Tun, and Karen writers Saw Chit Than and Mahn Lin Myat Kyaw delivered five days of short story construction techniques, narrative movement, characterization and plot structures, with careful introduction of cultural and social themes relevant to Karen State.
13 members of the Hpa-an community – 7 men and 6 women, ranging from 21 to 74 years old and representing the three main language groups, Sgaw, West and East Pwo – attended the workshop.
A live Literature night was held on the last night of the workshop in a celebration of traditional Karen reading, singing and dancing. Over 100 Hpa-an community members, state party officials and NLD officials, 88 Generation, educators and students, enjoyed listening to the workshop participants read from their works in Sgaw, West and East Pwo, renditions of traditional Karen songs and a 30 minute performance from an 18 strong ‘Dong’ dance troupe.
The participants now have one month to return their finished manuscripts to a chosen panel of Karen literature judges who will select the best Sgaw, West and East Pwo story to be included the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds anthology.