Yezet, an anthology of soon-to-be published Burmese short stories is one of 16 recipients of the most recent round of grants from the PEN Translates awards in the UK …continue reading
I’ve always admired this building. Perhaps because it stands so out of place in the curve of one of the city’s largest roundabouts, far from the downtown townships, where the crush of so many colonial era buildings can often minimise their grandeur. Though the exact date of its construction is unknown, as is the original owner, the Sorrento Villa seems to have a century long connection to literature …continue reading
Yu Ya (1987) is the youngest scion of one of Myanmar’s most famous literary families. The only woman in Myanmar to hold both a BA and MA in creative writing, she has won awards in interstate poetry competitions at township and state level. She has published over 40 short stories, poems and essays for several of the leading literary journals in Myanmar including Shwe Amyutae, Thouk Kyar, Yati and Padouk Pwint Thit. She currently works for BBC Media Action contributing to radio dramas on social and community issues.continue reading
Sayar Lay Ko Tin (b.1947) is a writer, editor and translator. Born in Yangon in 1947 he has spent 14 years in prison in the 1960’s, 70’s and 90’s for his political activities. His first poem was published in 1985 in Sabei Phyu magazine and he has since gone on to publish 15 books, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including …continue reading
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 …continue reading
Sai San Pyae (1991) is an ethnic Shan writer born in the northern town of Lashio, Shan State. He graduated with a B.E (Mechanical) degree in 2013 from Lashio University of Information and Technology. He currently works as a Basic Computer tutor at the Kham Ku Centre, a Shan youth community organisation housed in the grounds of the Shan Culture and Literature Association …continue reading
The first time I met U Thaw Kaung, writer, librarian, collector and preserver, he sat alone on a bench under a large tree in a garden that slipped into Inya Lake. There were other writers present, National Literature Award winners, former literary prisoners, many I knew, some I didn’t but it was U Thaw Kaung who everyone gravitated towards …continue reading
In the wake of several recent years of intra-religious conflict in Myanmar comes a compilation of essays, stories and poetry exploring a time when different religious communities lived – supposedly – side by side in peace …continue reading
Yesterday was World Press Freedom day, and the Irrawaddy Journal took the opportunity to revisit older pieces they published on literary censorship in Myanmar in the 90’s and early 2000’s …continue reading
Mali Hku Shini (1988) is an ethnic Kachin born in Sumdu Ga (Nbu Baw) village, Ma Chang Baw Township in Kachin State. He learnt Ka-hprek, a traditional Kachin martial arts form whilst a teenager and trains the next generation from his gym in the Manau Cultural ground in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state …continue reading
Many thanks to Richard Roewer and the Tea Circle for a generously balanced and thoughtful review of the Hidden Words anthology.
‘… the diversity of the authors is one of the book’s greatest features. There is something extremely refreshing about a publication that did not select authors based on their reputation (some are first time writers) or based on how economical the translation of their stories would be, but rather on the basis of each story’s ability to open a door to new perspectives.’continue reading
Many thanks to T F Rhoden and the Asia Review of Books for a very kind review of the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds anthology.
Fascinating and smart, the eclectic collection of short stories found in Hidden Words Hidden Worlds: Contemporary Short Stories from Myanmar is recommended as much for its ability to serve as a primer on the ethnic diversity of Myanmar as it is for the enjoyableness of the stories.
The annual Tun Foundation awards are one of Myanmar’s more important, independent literary prizes. Created out of a private fund from the founders of the Tun banking family, it recognises books and manuscripts written in Burmese and English in 12 categories including History, Biography, Culture and Environment plus a lifetime achievement award …continue reading
Last weekend, the British Council launched the English edition of the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds anthology at an event in their library …continue reading
For the final post of 2017, I thought I would look more generally at the position of ethnic literature and its place in a wider definition of Myanmar Literature.
Though there has been little mention of it the English language press, (for a good blog piece, read Kate Griffin, who attended on behalf of the Writers Centre Norwich) the Yangon Literary Conference 2017 was held between the 13th and 16th December at MCC Hall with bookstalls, poetry recitals and exhibitions displayed by the City Hall from the 8th to the 12th …continue reading
Myay Hmone Lwin is a busy man. On top of running his own publishers, NDSP, a bookshop at Pearl Condo, the Yangon Book Plaza in downtown, a nascent translation association and the Irrawaddy Literature Festival he is also the founder of WE Distribution, a book delivery service …continue reading
One of the unfortunate consequences of decades of military rule in Myanmar is the staggering number of ancient law codes still on the books. Many of these laws date back to the colonial era and some even to the 19th Century. A massive task of the transition is the repeal and amendment of these laws that have no place in 21st Century society …continue reading
The Asia Literary Review is the leading literary journal for Asian connected literature and writers. This month they have produced a stellar edition with a focus on Myanmar including a chapter from Francis Wade’s new book, Myanmar’s Enemy Within and a very generous feature of four of the stories from Hidden Words Hidden Worlds: Contemporary Short Stories from Myanmar …continue reading
The first anthology of short stories from Myanmar published in the UK was successfully launched this month. Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds: Contemporary Short Stories from Myanmar features 14 stories originally written in Burmese and 7 ethnic languages and translated into English by the British Council …continue reading
According to Reddit user Backforward24 it is. Yesterday, Coconuts ran an article on a literary map of the world uploaded onto Reddit which purportedly shows the favourite book in each country. Backforward24’s choice for Myanmar was Nu Nu Yi (Inwas)’s inspirational ‘Smile as they Bow’ translated into English by Alfred Birnbaum and his wife Thi Thi Aye in 2008 …continue reading
The National League for Democracy came to power at the end of March 2016. Let’s see what has happened for literature in the year since …continue reading
*this post was updated in October 2017
Before arriving in Myanmar in 2011, it was an effort to find Burmese works written or translated into English. Fifty years of a national literature struggling just to survive and a global literary community unable to access the literature produced from this era has left Myanmar, relative to its size and literary lineage, with one of the least recognised and understood canons in the world …continue reading
The British Council, in collaboration with Millennium Centres and regional literature and cultural associations is embarking on a 3 year project showcasing ethnic Myanmar literature …continue reading
The Hidden Words Hidden Worlds project kicked off on August 5th with a creative writing methodologies workshop, led by James Byrne of Bone Will Crow fame at the Last Leaf Gallery on Upper Pansodan Street …continue reading