Because I knew the kinds of books I was hunting, I knew the kind of books I was not supposed to write. So I wrote them.And then copied them by hand to sell door-to-door.
Geoff Ryman in the Guardian gives a fascinating glimpse into Cambodia's literary landscape 31 years after the Khymer Rouge genocide left only 300 intellectuals alive out of an estimated 38,000.
The writing community is working to reestablish itself, but faces many challenges. Professor Terry Shaffer Yamada, project coordinator of the Nou Hach literary journal lists them:
The first problem is venues to publish. Most newspapers and magazines will only publish your work if you pay them. Second, piracy. People will photocopy your book and sell it without your knowledge. There's no distribution system for books, no bookstore chains. Books are sold in outdoor stalls. We (Nou Hach) are the only literary journal for modern literature. Otherwise, you have to self-publish and try to figure out how to get it distributed.But at least they now have programme about books and authors (with Vannarirak at the helm), which is more than we have here ...
And Ryman looks forward to the day when writers will be able to move beyond the pain of the past ...
I'm going to stick this quote from playwright Chhay Bora on my noticeboard:
A writer with the tip of his pen, can make the earth flip.