PEN Melbourne initiative supports writers in Myanmar

PEN Melbourne initiative supports writers in Myanmar

“They shoot in the head, but they don’t know the revolution is in the heart” - Khet Thi the Myanmar poet (tortured and murdered by the military junta on 8 May 2021.)

Lab Member Dr Michelle Aung Thin and PEN Melbourne recently held a fundraiser for writers in Myanmar. The event sought to celebrate the tenacity and courage of the Civil Disobedience Movement as well as raise funds to support writers who have been arrested, tortured and/or forced to flee. 

Readers were a mix of local Australians and Myanmarese. The Mekong Review’s poetry editor, Ko Ko Thett, selected and translated poems and there were readers to represent Chin and Muslim communities as well as Bamar. Readers included key figures in the Civil Disobedience Movement and the well known journalist and filmmaker Aye Min Soe.

Michelle Aung Thin introduced a short video from the #100projectors project which supports the Myanmar democracy movement against military dictatorship. There are currently around 40 projectionists in different states of Myanmar and worldwide. The project group had to disband for a few weeks after organisers were arrested. But the network keeps on projecting!

A collective painting of multiple hands organized by Khin Zaw Latt supporting Myanmar's Civil Disobedience Movement. A collective painting organized by Khin Zaw Latt supporting Myanmar's Civil Disobedience Movement. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Saturday 22 May 2021 marked 111 days since the coup d’etat when the democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party were deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar’s military.

Since then hundreds of people, including children, have been killed. Courageous people of Myanmar have taken to the streets to protest, and faced the guns of the military.

PEN Melbourne supports the writers of Myanmar, often on the front lines when it comes to voicing the spirit of the people and speaking truth to power. All funds raised from this event supported the writers of Myanmar in their just fight.

PEN Melbourne acknowledges that this event took place on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay respect to the Elders of these lands and to all First Nations people past, present and future.

non/fictionLab is supported by Writing & Publishing @ RMIT

Protesters holding posters in Myanmar. Protesters holding posters in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Aye Ko.
24 May 2021


24 May 2021


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.