Smart and Mookerdum: Hunting for Myanmar’s Lost Bookshop

Smart and Mookerdum: Hunting for Myanmar’s Lost Bookshop

It’s the second week of our self-isolation in Yangon.  Having spent the last five days digitally scanning the front covers of my Burma Book collection (just in case the worst happens and we are forced to leave them behind) and doing everything I can to distract myself from finishing the novel, I decided to solve a mystery that has irritated me for years.

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Reading George Orwell at the Strand Hotel

Reading George Orwell at the Strand Hotel

This iconic hotel was built as a wooden boarding house by an Englishman and in 1901 sold to the Sarkie brothers, the famous Armenian hoteliers, who renovated it to the structure more or less how it is seen today.  It soon became ‘the’ top hotel in the country and the first port of call for many writers who visited Burma, including George Orwell, Somerset Maugham, H.G.Wells, Noel Coward and Rudyard Kipling.

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