Every so often I read an article from one of the Myanmar newspapers and think, why couldn’t they have done that a little sooner. Too late for me now, but Sarpay Beikmann have come out with a much needed book, an English language biographical dictionary of 20th Century Myanmar writers.
Compiled under the watchful eyes of literary legend U Thaw Kaung, the book contains the life and words of 137 dead and living Myanmar writers. It apparently also critiques their works which is a nice touch considering literary criticism is almost non-existent in Myanmar.
This book will be incredibly useful to anyone interested in Myanmar literature. My own attempts to feature writers under the ‘Profile’ category is mostly based on brief translations taken from a Burmese language compilation of Myanmar writers and I’m missing a lot of information, most importantly on the types and styles of their works.
Since leaving Myanmar I’ve been keeping a desiderata of ‘wish books’ in English from the country. It stands at about 30 now, but ‘Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Myanmar Writers’ has just powered to the top.
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