Writer Profile: Kyaw Mya Than

Kyaw Mya Than (1930 – 2000) was a novelist and non-fiction writer of the ‘realist’ tradition.  In the 1950’s parliamentary era he wrote political articles under the pen name Ye Baw Than before joining the staff of ‘Crime Magazine’ in 1956, a popular journal at the time.  He here found the theme that would become a constant in all his writing … 

He contributed articles to the magazine on the true confessions of criminals and their experiences in prison.  In 1957 he published his first short story ‘A Bad Man but not a Bad Man’.  His biographical article ‘Hell Scenes from Thayarwa Ti Prison’ won second place at the NLA awards in 1969.  He became a household name with the publication of his novel ‘Last Days of the Death Penalty’ in 1974 and went on to publish over 30 more books in his career, all of them focussed on the real and imaginary lives of those incarcerated.  He died in Yangon in 2000.

This profile is an excerpt taken and reproduced with the kind permission of the editors from the Burmese language ‘A to Z of Burmese writers’, Volume 1, 2016, and co-translated into English with Dennis Htoo.