“As Patron of the Irrawaddy Literary Festival, I am looking forward to its third event in 2015. The Festival is providing an important open forum for Burma’s literary talent. Its stimulating mix of gifted writers from overseas and some of our most accomplished Burmese authors, cartoonists, translators and artists, has helped to shine a spotlight on the arts and literature in Burma.The next Festival will strengthen existing bonds and encourage yet more creativity between Burma’s writers and those from many other countries. It is also another opportunity for all those who care about literature to enjoy a world class Festival.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
“…the Irrawaddy Literary Festival, organised by the Ambassador’s wife [Jane Heyn], achieved more for freedom of speech in one afternoon than most of us manage in a lifetime”.
- Rt Hon William Hague MP, British Foreign Secretary, speech to the FCO Leadership Conference, May, 2013
Although Burma has a rich literary tradition, during military rule authors and publishing were stifled by censorship and the ILF, the first ever international literary festival to be held in Burma, has ignited international press and public interest and support.
As the programme of international and local authors for the next ILF comes together, watch a compilation of clips and images from our 2014 Festival in Mandalay.
The Irrawaddy Literary Festival 2015 in Rangoon will be the most vibrant and relevant literary event in south east Asia.
This is a new one for me: a poem that's a "found object," an actual report of an electrocution of a draft bullock by Ko Lwin (Swa) in a news journal (16 July, 2014).
Bullock Electrocuted by a Dove on the Line
The monsoon season sees Frequent reports of electrocutions …
At 4:50 pm on July 14, In Yedashe Township, Near Swa Toll Gate A dove resting On an 11 Kilovolt power line Brought two power lines in contact. A draft bullock rubbing Against the pylon underneath Was electrocuted.
‘‘My theory is that the dove, While perched on the power line, Must have sharpened its beak on the line. This must have brought two lines together, Which resulted in an electric shock. It so happened that a bullock was Rubbing itself against The pylon right under those power lines. Now the bullock is dead.’’ Commented an employee of Myanmar Electrical Power Enterprise
"For a venue even more off the beaten track, try Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Literary Festival, where Aung San Suu Kyi is the patron. The next edition will feature Ian McEwan... and Craig Raine, among others."
Thank you for commenting :) To the winners of Poll 1 and 2 -- Thiri Ko and Jennifer Mackenzie! -- here is, perversely, a haunting poem about loss.
One Art By Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. ... See MoreSee Less
Poll Two: Who won the Man Booker Prize 2014, announced last night? (Got to be on your toes!) A. Ali Smith B. Howard Jacobson C. Neel Mukherjee D. Richard Flanagan E. Joshua Ferris F. Karen Joy Fowler Again, leave your answers in the comments section below, to win a small, precious virtual prize! (For an extra prize, name the winning novel) ... See MoreSee Less
Alright, #ILF followers, it's time to put your literary know-how to the test! Poll One: Who won the Nobel Prize for Literature 2014, announced a few days ago? A. Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o B. Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami C. French novelist Patrick Modiano D. Belarussian journalist Svetlana Aleksijevitj Leave your answers in the comments section below, to win a tiny but invaluable virtual prize! ;) ... See MoreSee Less