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.