Fundraising: Just a Human Being and other Tales from Contemporary Cambodia

Contemporary writers in Cambodia publish their first collection of short fiction in English translation. http://www.indiegogo.com/new-fiction-Cambodia

About this project

This translation project of 12 short stories from Cambodian to English is organized by the  Nou Hach Literary Association in Phnom Penh, which  was started in 2002 with the intent to support writers and literary publishing in Cambodia.  During 1975-79 over 90 percent of writers and intellectuals were killed by the Khmer Rouge or died from starvation and exposure.   Writers still struggle to publish  in Cambodia due to publishing costs and the pirating of creative work in the unregulated market here.  They also struggle with one of the highest rates of illiteracy in Asia and a language yet to be significantly modernized making it more challenging to read.

As a founding member of the association, I have assisted in the development of Cambodian literature with Khmer writers since 2002.  I am part of the Nou Hach translation team and travel to Cambodia for several months every summer to help organize the annual writers conference and smaller  writers workshops with our Asialink writers-in-residence interns from Australia.

 

What We Need & What You Get

We need $650 dollars to support modest stipends for the book cover artist and some translators.  We also need to fund the production costs for editing, and formating layouts for both print and digital texts.  If we don’t make our goal, the funds will go to support the annual writers conference ($2000).

  • PLEDGE $25 or more and we will include your name on the acknowledgements page with our heartfelt thanks.
  • PLEDGE $65 or more and we will include your name on the acknowledgements page with our heartfelt thanks and send you a digital copy of “Just a Human Being” and other contemporary tales from Cambodia
  • PLEDGE $125 or more and we will include your name on the acknowledgements page with our heartfelt thanks, send you a digital copy of “Just a Human Being” and other contemporary tales from Cambodia” and a signed copy of “Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia.”

The Impact

Cambodia lags behind the rest of Asia in translations of Khmer fiction and poetry. In fact, “Just a Human Being…” will be the first collection of short fiction in English translation from Cambodia. The stories in this collection include tales of poverty, social injustice, political corruption and the triumph of karma and compassion. The twelve stories in “Just a Human Being…” represent the best work of contemporary Cambodian writers in the genre of serious fiction.

There are no creative writing programs in Cambodia.  The language still exhibits strong influence from Pali and Sanskrit, meaning that one “idea” can be an entire paragraph without a stop indicating our period.  There are still problems with  standardized spelling.  In any case, the young writers in this collection are not only the most creative writers in Cambodia today, they are also associated with a clarity of Khmer writing and editing.  This collection of their work in translation will bring attention to the importance of new writing in Cambodia.

As the project director for the Nou Hach Literary Association, I have facilitated the publication of six Nou Hach journal volumes.  My own publications include “Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia” (University of Michigan Press, 2002) and “Modern Short Fiction of Southeast Asia: A Literary History” (Association for Asian Studies, 2009).  I am deeply invested in the development of modern literature in Cambodia.

Other Ways You Can Help

Please tell your friends and colleagues about our campaign. It means a lot to writers in Cambodia to have their work translated in English and read by an international audience.

Please use the Indiegogo share tools to spread the word!!