Sokunthary Svay was born in a refugee camp in Thailand shortly after her parents fled Cambodia following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. They resettled in the Bronx, where she grew up. Currently pursuing a PhD in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, she is a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA) and has received fellowships from the American Opera Project, Poets House, Willow Books, and CUNY, as well as commissions from Washington National Opera, White Snake Project, and ISSUE Project Room. Her first book, Apsara in New York, was published in 2017. Her first opera with Liliya Ugay, Woman of Letters, premiered at the Kennedy Center in January 2020. Svay’s second opera with Ugay, Chhlong Tonle, premiered in March 2022.