Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer literature festival was great. Why did few people hear about it?



Khmer literature festival was great. Why did few people hear about it?

Khmer language books for sale at a street-side vendor in Phnom Penh.
Khmer language books for sale at a street-side vendor in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Khmer literature festival was great. Why did few people hear about it?

I am one of the writers who attended the Khmer literature festival in Siem Reap last weekend. Even though the festival seems small, there were at least 30 writers involved. It was well-organised. Most of us were travelling from Phnom Penh. The organisers worked very hard to put all the pieces together, arranging logistics, accommodation, and managing the whole festival.

I felt a sense of unity and happy to be able to spend three days with other writers. We have the same common goal that we want to see Cambodia start to value reading and seeing its benefits to the nation. By being united, we want to see more valuing of writers. They really need the support and encouragement to keep moving forward and producing more books.

The festival took place at Wat Damnak for the first two days, and the last day was at Wat Bo. I was presenting in the session of Snadai Thmei – “New writing and Publishing”. There were 13 writers who presented their books, some of them were already published, and some are going to publish in the coming months or early next year.

A favourite moment was watching the women’s drum group Medha. Their performance was stunning, and I shed tears without knowing it when during the finale they shouted “be brave, persist, courage!” Master artist Peak Chapech also performed solo Bassak storytelling. It was an impressive one-hour recital of the tale.

The festival’s programme on philosophy focused on the writer Khun Srun, who perished during the Khmer Rouge regime at the age of 33. His work is not very well known, but is celebrated for its social criticism that still has relevance today.

I never really knew about Khun Srun’s work until attending the festival, and realised his work is really amazing. There are lot of positive thoughts and philosophy in his book. After the festival, I now want to do more research and read more of his work.

I could see that the festival still lacked media outreach. It was a great festival, and I wish there were more people who knew about it.

Thon Thavry
Phnom Penh
Author of
A Proper Woman

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Siem Reap action plan for tourism in motion

    The action plan for the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan (2022-2023), focusing on six priority destinations, has been implemented to boost tourism and regain pre-Covid tourist numbers in the province. The action plan sets out 17 strategies and 37 implementation activities for: Angkor Archaeological Park, Phnom