Writer profile: Saw Lambert

Saw Lambert (1941- 2015) was born in a small village in Karen State close to the Thailand border. As a teenager he boarded in the nearest high-school, forty miles away, and later graduated with a degree in Chemistry from Mawlamyine University in Mon State. Having been denied permission by the Socialist Government to study bookbinding in the UK …

… he instead pursued a career in education becoming headmaster of several State schools. After retirement he moved to Hpa-an and while he served the Anglican Church as treasurer and central committee member, he devoted the later part of his life to the preservation of the Karen languages and literature. From 2000 to 2008, as Vice Chairman of the Karen Culture and Literature Association, he oversaw annual summer schools for children in remote villages. Often discouraged by the military regime, his classes taught the Karen scripts, poetry and history – subjects banned in the government schools at the time – and ensured the next generation of Karen writing lives on. Saw Lambert passed away two months after the publication of his first short story, from which an extract was read at his funeral.

*This is the twelfth in a series of adapted profiles on writers taken from the 2017 anthology Hidden Words Hidden Worlds: Contemporary Short Stories from Myanmar