Bangkok: – To celebrate its 150th anniversary, The Neilson Hays Library in collaboration with the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC) is organizing a first of its kind Literature Festival featuring an exclusive group of renowned Thai and international writers from around the world who will deliver insightful talks, panel discussions on various topics and poetry reading. The Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival, scheduled to take place from Saturday, 16 to Sunday, 17 November 2019, will also feature other entertainment activities such as art and craft market and workshops as well as film screenings.
“I am most excited and honoured to be presenting the Neilson Hays Library’s very first Literature Festival of this scale. More than 25 distinguished and award-winning authors from Thailand and overseas are expected to participate,” said Ms. Nalin Vanasin, President of Neilson Hays Library. “The two-day Festival will take place at the Library and nearby British Club, while special evening events will be held at Chulalongkorn University and Chakrabongse Villas.”
“In hosting the Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival, we aim to inspire readers and writers in Thailand by connecting them with renowned creators of world-class literary works from various countries around the world,” said Ms. Vanasin. “The Festival hopes to create a stage for the participating literary luminaries to exchange knowledge and share their experiences, as well as showcase Thai literature and creative arts for international audience.”
“People read for different reasons, some for knowledge, others to escape, others, still, to empathize. All would, however, agree on the remedial qualities of the written word to heal, to unite and to inspire. Given that books were the genesis of the founding of our Library Association, it seems apt that 150 years later we shall be celebrating the power of letters, especially when they are more needed and important today than ever,” said Ms. Vanasin.
Proudly representing Thailand at the Festival will be such well-known writers/authors and winners of the prestigious Southeast Asian Writers (S.E.A Write) Award as Zakariya Amataya, Uthis Haemamool, Duanwad Pimwana (whose novel and collection of short stories have recently been translated and published internationally in both the US and Australia), and Veeraporn Nitiprapha. Also sharing their wealth of knowledge and international experiences at the Festival are none other than young Thai, internationally renowned literary stars who currently live abroad such as Pichaya Sudbantad who grew up in Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the American South, and Mui Poopoksakul, lawyer-turned-translator with special interest in contemporary Thai literature who had lived for two decades in the US and who now lives in Berlin, Germany, and last but not least Anusorn Tipayanon author, novelist and translator who attracts and observes Art in every aspect.
Amongst the outstanding, award-winning literary personalities from overseas who have confirmed their presence at the Festival are Adam Johnson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize 2013 and who is currently Professor of English at the prestigious Stanford University, California, the US, and Melissa Lucashenko, a multi award-winning Goorie novelist from Australia who recently won the 2019 Miles Franklin Award, the country’s most prestigious literary prize amongst other accolades. The Festival is also honoured and excited to host Mike Curato from the US, author-illustrator of the wildly popular Little Elliot picture books (which has been translated into 10 languages).
Not forgetting to showcase the equally rich literature from Asia and ASEAN, the Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival has successfully invited outstanding literary luminaries from India, Japan, China, the Philippines, Singapore and Myanmar including India’s Raghu Karnad, journalist and writer and winner of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction, and P. Sivakami, feminist writer and one of the most prominent Dalit novelists in India; Chinese-American Qiu Xiaolong, author of 11 novels in the award-winning Inspector Chen series which have been translated into more than 20 languages; Myanmar’s human rights activist and winner of the 2018 S.E.A. Write Award Ma Thida; Japan’s Kanako Nishi, winner of the prestigious Naoki Prize amongst others.
The Board of Directors of the Neilson Hays Bangkok have extended invitations to H.E. Mr. Ittipol Khunpluem, Minister of Culture, and M.R. Sukhumband Paribatra, Chairman of Suan Pakkad Palace Museum and Chairman of the S.E.A. Write Organising Committee, to preside at the opening ceremony of the Literature Festival scheduled to take place on Saturday, 16 November 2019 at 9.00 am at the Library.
The Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival is supported by the following:
Partners: Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC), Embassy of Australia, Embassy of Canada, Japan Foundation, Indian Studies Center, Chulalongkorn University, James H.W. Thompson Foundation, International School Bangkok, S.E.A. Write Award, Bangkok Edge, P.E.N. International Thailand Centre, the Writers’ Association of Thailand.
Sponsors: Premier Group, Kasikorn Bank PCL, The British Club, AirAsia, Wine Garage.
Media partner: A Day Magazine
Hotel partners: The Peninsula Bangkok and Royal Orchid Sheraton.
For further information or seat bookings, please contact The Neilson Hays Bangkok,
Bookings will be open from 1 October 2019 onwards.
List of confirmed speakers so far: Sarinee Achavanuntakul, Zakariya Amataya, Michael M. Coroza (The Philippines), Mike Curato (American), Uthis Haemamool, Nisid Hajari (journalist & writer based in Thailand), Adam Johnson (American), Raghu Karnad (Indian), Melissa Lucashenko (Australian), Darrel J. McLeod (Canadian), Pankaj Mishra (English-Indian), Kanako Nishi (Japanese), Veeraporn Nitiprapha, Rewat Panpipat, Duanwad Pimwana, Mui Poopoksakul (Thai/German), Haresh Sharma (Singaporean), P. Sivakami (Indian), Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Ma Thida (Myanmar), Anusorn Tipayanon, Patrick Winn (journalist & writer based in Thailand), Clare Wright (Australian), Qui Xiaolong (Chinese/American), and more.
Note: – According to 2018 statistics, time spent reading books increased to 80 minutes in total per day amongst Thais – majority of the readers in Bangkok with 92.9%, central 80.4% North and Northeast 75% and southern regions 74.3%.
Up to 88% of the readers still prefer to read the hardcopy version of a book, while 75.8% are more inclined towards reading on electronic platforms.
(Source: National Statistical Office And the Learning Park Office or TK park)