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Phuket: Myanmar gets ready for first ever international literary festival

MYANMAR: The Irrawaddy Literary Festival, to be held in Yangon from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd February 2012, brings together a stellar cast of high-profile international authors and local Burmese counterparts.

Tuesday 22 January 2013, 02:54PM


Phuket: Myanmar gets ready for first ever international literary festival

The venue is the beautiful lakeside grounds of the Inya Lake Hotel in the centre of historic Yangon. The festival’s patron is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, author of 'Letters from Burma' and 'Freedom from Fear'.

Daw Suu, who is also participating in the festival, said:  'I am delighted to lend my support and personal participation to this first Irrawaddy Literary Festival.

'Literature has always been a big part of my life, and I hope this festival will encourage more people to explore the world of literature and further their understanding of the English language'.

Among the international authors attending the event are Jung Chang, Vikram Seth, William Dalrymple, Fergal Keane, Rory Stewart, Sudha Shah, Timothy Garton-Ash, and Frank Dikotter.

They will be joined by over 80 Burmese authors, including Thant Myint U (author of 'The River of Lost Footsteps'), Pascal Koo Thwe ('From The Land of Green Ghosts'), and well-known figures such as Zarganar, Ju and Dr Ma Thida.

Panels and talks will be held in a mix of English and Burmese language, with selected talks simultaneously translated.

The Festival director is Jane Heyn, wife of the current British Ambassador Andrew Heyn, who has lived in Myanmar since 2009.

Jane said: 'The festival's aim is to provide a catalyst for the exchange of ideas across cultures, and the event will reflect the extraordinary vibrancy of a country in the midst of immense change'.

The key sponsors are Yoma Strategic Holdings and First Myanmar Investment Company, along with Myint & Associates, TODAY Media Group, Monument Books, and the Myanmar Book Centre.

The British Embassy and the British Council in Yangon are also supporting the festival, to help strengthen cultural links, promote understanding of the English language, and forge new bonds between the two countries.

Tickets are now on sale from local outlets, priced at 1500 kyat (just under $2) for a full day of events.  All are welcome to attend- and tickets will also be available on the door. 

More details, including information on participating authors, can be found at www.irrawaddylitfest.com and at www.facebook.com/IrrawaddyLitFest, which will be regularly updated ahead of the festival.

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