Writer Profile: Wawn Awng

Wawn Awng (1942) is a celebrated ethnic Kachin writer. Born in Sumprabum, the cultural heartland of the Jinghpaw community in the upper North of Myanmar, he graduated from Mandalay University with a BA in history and worked as a general administrator in Myitkyina district for most of his life …

He is the author of 6 books in the Jinghpaw language, including cultural lore books, Kachin folktales and legends, and N Law Nli a collection of poetry. Several of his poems have been translated into English and published by Poetry International. As with all the writers in the ethnic languages in Myanmar before the end of abolition he was unable to sell his books in the bookshops. Since his retirement he has focussed on his role as chief editor of the Breeze over the Irrawaddy journal, one of the oldest running Jinghpaw language publications that features poetry, short stories, cartoons and opinion pieces. He still lives in Myitkyina.

*UPDATE – May 2020: Sadly, Wawn Awng passed away at his home in Myitkyina in 2019

For more on Wawn Awng and other writers from the borderlands of Myanmar please take a look at my book The People Elsewhere: Unbound Journeys with the Storytellers of Myanmar