The 2017 Irrawaddy Literary Festival will be held at the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in Mandalay, Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th November 2017
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Launched in 2013 under the patronage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, just a couple of years after her release from house arrest, the ILF is a literary festival with a difference, an entirely philanthropic venture, its primary objective being to connect long-silenced Myanmar writers with the international literary community.
While serving as British Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague MP, said that the Irrawaddy Literary Festival ‘achieved more for freedom of speech in one weekend than most of us manage in a lifetime’.
Past festivals have been attended by international luminaries including Jung Chang, Louis de Bernières, Anne Enright and Vikram Seth, and Myanmar writers led by Ma Thida and Pascal Khoo Thwe. This year’s gathering will attract an equally high-profile delegation of international writers, including Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler, Britain’s Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, and award-winning Canadian writer, Madeleine Thien.
Following the last Festival in 2015, journalist Margaret Simons described the Irrawaddy Literary Festival as ‘a kind of miracle . . . a million miles away from the glossy publisher-funded writers’ circuits of the western world’. And Barnaby Phillips wrote, ‘Anyone who is jaded by too many literary festivals should attend the Aké Festival in Nigeria or the Irrawaddy Festival in Burma. . . . ‘
The Irrawaddy Literary Festival offers a three-day programme of events completely free of charge, welcoming huge local crowds as well as international visitors. Burmese-English-Burmese interpretation is provided. In addition to the programmed sessions there are popular informal speaking opportunities at Speakers’ Corner in the grounds of the hotel.
The Festival is made possible by donations and support in kind from local and international well wishers including Max Myanmar Holdings, the US Embassy, the Universities of Melbourne, Manchester and Oxford, KBZ Bank, Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel and Sedona Hotel. Writers and readers with a penchant for travel will surely be attracted to attend and experience the special charms of the event, where ordinary and extraordinary stories will unfold.