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Bring Khmer Literature internationally

Phina So
June15/ 2017

As a Khmer writer, I am so pleased and honored that my short story “Songs Bring Strength”, a story in “ធ្លាក់ក្នុងអន្លង់ស្នេហ៍ or Crush Collection”, is featured in the Consequence Magazine‘s Volume 9 for Spring 2017. It is now available for order.  In the publication, there is a special feature on Cambodian Literature. There are only two local writers in the volume though: me and Sok Chanphal.

My story ‘ចម្រៀងនាំសារ’ or ‘Songs Bring Strength’ is translated by George Cigas, a writer and a senior lecturer in Cambodian Studies at the University of Massachusetts. It has been a long process of many Skype meetings, reviewing words making sure it reflects the taste of the original story. Moreover, George also writes an overview of the story arguing that the story may not viewed as feminist literature by the West but it is a bold move from tradition and reflects the view of Cambodian urban educated women in contemporary Cambodia. The translation process was also under the work of George Kovach, the editor of the Consequence Magazine whose wisely clarified terms and expression to bring the most value of the story. This process has taught me a good experience in translation work.

Chanphal’s short story ‘The Kerosene Lamp Ghost Stories’ was translated by Soknea Nhim and Teri Shaffer Yamada from the Nou Hach Literary Journal.

Besides us two local writers, many of the works are of our Cambodian American writer friends and artists such as Monica Sok, Elizabeth Chey, Sokunthary Svay, Bunkong Tuan, Chath pierSath, and others. Visual artist Leang Seckon was also featured.

I’m happy to see that Teri Shaffer Yamada and Theresa de Langis also contributed to the magazine.