U Win Pe

U Win Pe is a prolific author, poet and journalist.  Born in 1927 in the then Burmese capital Rangoon, raised further north in Monywa and attended primary school at the prestigious St Joseph boarding school in the colonial summer retreat town of Pyin Oo Lwin.  At the outbreak of the Second World War, U Win Pe was back in Yangon and eventually matriculated secondary school with the highest marks in the country.  Attending Yangon University to study English he started his journalistic career as the editor of the famous Oway (Peacock) magazine, following in the path of independence hero Gen. Aung San who steered the magazine in the 1930’s.

After several years a civil administrator, U Win Pe left Burma to attend Harvard University gaining a Masters in Public Administration, returning to Yangon in 1959 and marrying.  In the decades since he has held various governmental and academic positions, including Director General of the National Broadcasting Service, Fine Arts and National Archives and a full time member of the Myanmar Language Commission.

In the 1980’s he chaired the Literary Workers Organisation, a national literary association under the control of the Ministry of Information and a forerunner to today’s independent Myanmar Writers Association.  Like many Burmese writers, U Win Pe wrote under several guises; Win Pe, Mya Zin, Epsilon, Po Zayar and Zagadaungzar.  He was a co-founder of the Working People’s Daily newspaper in the 1960’s, which became the state propaganda outlet ‘New Light of Myanmar’ in 1989, contributing regularly to the edition.  He has written several treatises on the structure and development of Burmese Poetry, and anthologised English translations of Burmese poetry in noted works such as ‘Emerald lake’ and ‘Modern Burmese Poetry’.   He still lives in Yangon.

[Source: Bamboo Clapper and Other Essays, Mya Zin, SCC, 2015]

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