Aung San Suu Kyi was the leading dignitary at a press conference in Yangon this morning to launch the Irrawaddy Literary Festival, which takes place 1-3 February.
Giles Fitzherbert, one of the organisers, rang from the British Embassy to report that Suu Kyi, “spoke very well, very feelingly, about the importance of literature for her and for the world in general.” Jane Heyn, the driving force behind the festival, also spoke, and her husband Andrew (the British ambassador) was there in a show of support.
Final preparations are in full swing at the event venue, the Inya Lake Hotel, and they anticipate several thousand visitors across the three days.
One key attraction will be the opportunity to buy books inexpensively: some donated, some offered by publishers at reduced prices. “Books are not all that cheap here,” Fitzherbert noted. “They aren’t easily affordable to the average person [due to] the general level of poverty.”
If you’d like to contribute The Orwell Prize is running a ‘Buy A Book for Burma’ campaign. Donate online.