The official organisation for publishers and booksellers in Myanmar, the MPBA grew out of the dissolution of the old, Ministry of Information controlled Myanmar Writer’s and Journalists Association in July 2012. Its formation was encouraged by the Thein Sein administration, but they – credibly – claim no association or affiliation with the then or current government. Within a year they had gained 300 members, and possibly upwards of 60 to 70% of all the publishers in the country. Originally they operated out of the Popular News Journal office on 35th Street, but since 2015, they have been housed in the colonial era Government Press building on Theinbyu Street, Botathaung Township.
Every year they hold a members only conference, where awards for Best Publisher and Best Bookshop are handed out. A book fair is usually held for the public. The MPBA also run their own mobile live reading group, where writers travel across the country, promoting the books published and sold by the MPBA through live readings in the community.
To read more about Myanmar, their censored literature and my travels with Burmese writers, take a look at my award-shortlisted political travel book, ‘The People Elsewhere: Unbound Journeys with the Storytellers of Myanmar’.