An initiative to link SE Asia literature with the rest of the world.
This initiative aims to establish Singapore's role as the "gateway" connecting SE Asia with the rest of the world, thereby creating opportunities for local writers, translators, editors and publishers. This includes identifying and supporting deserving translation and publishing efforts and supporting cultural diplomacy.
Our first Literary Gateway project was conducted in May in Yangon. Together with our partners PEN Myanmar, Writers' Centre Norwich, the British Centre for Literary Translation and Penguin Random House, we were involved in holding Myanmar's first international translation workshop since 1969, an event that drew wide media coverage.
Called "Link the Worlds", the project comprised two literary translation workshops focusing on Burmese to English and English to Burmese translations.
Singapore writer Alfian Sa'at and British writer Suzanne Joinson were the two international writers-in-residence, whose works were translated into Burmese by a group of 10 translators led by renowned translator Moe Thet Han.
For the Burmese to English track, workshop leader Alfred Birnbaum led another group of 10 translators to translate the works of well-known Myanmar writers Nay Myo and Min Khite Soe San into English.
Said Alfian of the experience, "As someone living in Southeast Asia, there haven't been many initiatives to understand the region and I have to admit that Myanmar was never really in my radar as a writer. But now I'm really keen on reading works from Myanmar writers and hoping that these little acts of connecting with one another will lead to greater cultural integration among the Southeast Asian nations."
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