The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, in partnership with PEN America and Singapore Unbound, will convene a bilingual reading of work from the forthcoming anthology Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring: Witness Poems and Essays from Burma/Myanmar 1988-2021, followed by a conversation with editors Brian Haman and Ko Ko Thett, and contributors Ma Thida and Mae Yway on the anthology and the state of free expression in Myanmar.
This event will be streamed on Zoom Webinar. Please RSVP to receive a Zoom link via email in advance of the event. The event will be uploaded to the AAWW YouTube channel the following week.
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This event will be captioned, and will include ASL Interpretation by Pro Bono ASL.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Brian Haman is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Vienna as well as the book and interview editor of The Shanghai Literary Review. He completed his PhD at the University of Warwick in the UK, and with Dr Tammy Lai-Ming Ho (HKBU/PEN HK) is currently co-editing a forthcoming volume on contemporary Chinese-language poetry in translation (Balestier Press).
Ko Ko Thett is a Burma-born poet, literary translator, and poetry editor for Mekong Review. He started writing poems for samizdat pamphlets at the Yangon Institute of Technology in the ’90s. After a brush with the authorities in the 1996 student protest, and a brief detention, he left Burma in 1997 and has led an itinerant life ever since. Thett has published and edited several collections of poetry and translations in both Burmese and English. His poems are widely translated and anthologised. His translation work has been recognised with an English PEN award. Thett’s most recent poetry collection is Bamboophobia (Zephyr Press, 2022). He lives in Norwich, UK.
Ma Thida is a Burmese medical doctor, writer, human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience. In Myanmar, Thida is best known as a leading intellectual, whose books deal with the country’s political situation. She is elected recently as chair of the Writer in Prison committee of PEN International. She was the president of PEN Myanmar and board member of PEN International. She is currently at Yale University as visiting research associate at Southeast Asia Studies program.
Mae Yway (poet, scriptwriter) identifies herself as part of LGBTQ+ community and she stands for it. She was born in Myeik, a town in the deep south of Myanmar, and raised in Yangon. She has authored three collections of poetry: “Courier” , “You & I”, and “Fish & Shrimp”, all published in Yangon. In 2017, she became the first woman poet of Myanmar to have participated in the 48th Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands . In 2021 she was a resident at the International Writing Program, University of Iowa. She also works as a content strategist in digital marketing and also, a screenwriter.
Brian Haman, Ko Ko Thett, Ma Thida, Mae Yway