THE LAO WRITERS ASSOCIATION
The Lao Writers Association has been established on October 22, 1990. The Association is affiliated to the Ministry of Information and Culture. The Executive Committee is composed of 7 writers. Mr. Souvanthone Bouphanouvong (2000 S.E.A. Write winner) was elected president at the 1st. congress.
The scond congress was held on October 21, 1996, the poet Thongkham Onemanisone (1998 S.E.A. Write Award) was elected president. Nine members were elected executive committee.
The Association has been carrying out numereous activities according to its role and function, under the direction and planning of the Ministry. Sieng Khen and Vannasine magazines are main floors for dissiminating writers products in all genres. We have organized contests for short story, poetry, folk tale and children's stories. Some literary critics, and researchers on traditional Lao Literature also published their essays in these magazines, or published in book forms.
International literature have been promoted through translation such as: short stories, novels and poetry from France, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, Thai, England and from other countries. The translation was published in book forms, or printed in Sieng Khen and Vannasine magazines.
As for foreign relation, the Lao Writers Associatiion has exchanged visits and study tours with Vietnam, the Peoples Republic of China, Thailand and Japan. We have participated in the ASEAN Writers activities for example some short stories were selected and published in the book titled Old Truth, New Revelations 2001.
Since 1998, we have been participating in the S.E.A. Write Award. Up to present, two writers and two poets have been awarded. The Lao government also awarded the four writers with IInd Labor Medal.
Publication of Literary Works and Reading Promotion Programme
Book publication in Lao PDR has covered all genres: novels, short stories, poetry, folk tales, children's stories, tradional literature and translation of foreign literature.
Most of the printed books are dedicated to the National Reading Promotion Programme which is a free distribution. A few number are distributed among general readers, adults and students. The National Library conducts the programme being supported by many international NGO, mainly Japenese and of course UNICEF, for the printing costs, mobile libraries and portable libraries. Such activities are expanded to most of elementary schools in remote provinces and through Children's Cultural Centers. The Lao youngsters reading habit has been highly increased since 1992.
Lao Writers Promotion in the Future
Although the Lao government has been supporting literary works of our writers, due to budgetary shortage, government subscdized publication has been cut down a great deal during the last years. The need for publication, both at educational institutions and among public readers is highily demanding.
At the end of this year, we are holding the 3rd. Congress of Lao Writers Association. Many literary contests are planned to commemorate this important event. Affiliation of writers in the Central part of Laos is in process.
As for foreign relation, we hope to stenghen and expand more cooperations with ASEAN writers. Especially at this significant meeting, we Lao writers wish to learn a lot from you all, and share with you our modest experiences.
On behalf of the Lao Writers Delegation, may I express my sincere gratitude to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka of Malaysia, for giving us the chance to be here today. I am confident that our effort to bring about the promotion of our literary works at the regional level in the near future shall be realized.
© Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Malaysia. SEMUA HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA 2002
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