The Irrawaddy Literary Festival, first held in 2013 in Rangoon, is now an annual event with the fourth Festival due to take place 25-27 November 2016 in Mandalay. The Festival was purposely and perhaps fittingly named after Burma's great Irrawaddy river which, by its very existence, represents a powerful resource and an unending series of challenges.
Each year the Festival's small voluntary team of international and Burmese organisers, deftly produce a world class, not for profit, event on a shoestring budget. The Festival's esteemed patron, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, maintains a close interest in its progress, even hoping that her diary will again permit participation in this year's Festival.
The 2016 Festival line up will be another wide-ranging, high calibre mix of writers, academics, social activists and thinkers from around the world alongside their Burmese counterparts. Books, author signings, food stalls and entertainments complement the Festival's usual fare of culture and literature: poetry, prose, journalism, photo journalism, documentaries, films and exhibitions. Simultaneous translation in both English and Myanmar is provided by an enthusiastic local volunteer team of interpreters. Entry to the entire three day programme is free to the public on a first come first served basis; all funds raised are spent on the Festival.
"The Festival is providing an important open forum for Burma's literary talent. Its stimulating mix of gifted writers from overseas and some of our most accomplished Burmese authors, cartoonists, translators and artists, has helped to shine a spotlight on the arts and literature in Burma. The next Festival will strengthen existing bonds and encourage yet more creativity between Burma's writers and those from many other countries. It is also another opportunity for all those who care about literature to enjoy a world class Festival."
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Patron, Irrawaddy Literary Festival