Sadaik Rebooted

Sadaik began at a time when the reforms in Myanmar placed the country under a new light.  The censorship board had only just been formally abolished and tentative experiments in pushing literature had started to take shape in workshops, content and formation of new associations.

Sadaik then stopped at probably the most interesting time, when the eagerness of those reforms bled away into a more pragmatic adjustment.

I got frustrated with the internet, what posts should have been placed on sadaik I instead handed over to the tireless editors at Kitaab, an Asian literature specialist site, (of which I am still an International Contributing editor), who posted them on my behalf.

The internet then improved in Myanmar, in part thanks to the rise of mobile connectivity, but I was too distracted with an offer from Penguin to write a book.  The People Elsewhere: Unbound Journeys with the Storytellers of Myanmar came out this year (more on that later).

And then I moved away, to Africa.  I took with me five years of books and interviews and notes which never made it either into the Kitaab posts or The People Elsewhere.  It seemed a shame to keep them bound away, and with time now on my hands …

The concept for this Sadaik 2.0 is slightly different than its predecessor.  Rather than a jumble of mis-managed posts with no clear purpose or connection, I hope instead Sadaik becomes a record.  It is incredibly rare to be able to document a literature emerge from half a century of isolation and censorship and see how it forms, how writers and publishers and booksellers respond and adapt to a new time.  By tracing the evolution of the type of books being published and translated to the attitude and approach of a new leadership, we can decipher that adaptation in real time.

Every week there will be a review of a Burmese language book in English translation and a small biography of perhaps less well-known writers working today in Myanmar.  Scattered in between will be news of development in literature and thoughts of where Myanmar literature can go in the future.

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About Lucas Stewart

Former British Council Literature Advisor | Author of The People Elsewhere: Unbound Journey's with the Storytellers of Myanmar