Opening Remarks for June 29, 2013, Nou Hach Literary Association Writers Conference


Left, Yin Luoth (Co-founder); center Pov Song (interpreter); right, Teri Yamada (Co-founder)

Opening Address  by Teri Yamada

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and honored speakers,  my name is Teri Yamada and I am a co-founder of the Nou Hach Literary Association.  I would like to welcome you today  to our 2013   Conference and Awards Ceremony.   Thank you so much for your support of creative writers in Cambodia.

  There are a number of people I must recognize for their wonderful efforts in support of the Nou Hach Literary Association and its publications this year:

The Nou family, descendents of Nou Hach.

First l’d like to recognize the members of the Nou Hach family who are here today.   And Monika Nowacyzk, who supported the publication of “Just a Human Being’ and other tales from Contemporary Cambodia.”  Also in the audience is Nhim Pheakdey, representing the American Embassy in Phnom Penh.  We sincerely appreciate the Embassy’s support of our two  workshops with American Poets during 2012.

I’d also like to thank the other executive board members of the Nou Hach Literary Association: Yin Luoth and Khem Akhaing; and our community advisory board directors, Neng Kanitha, Sok, Chanphal and Pov Sok along with our community advisory board members, most of whom are here today.   I would  also like to thank the judges of the poetry and short story contests: Mr. Chin Meas, Mr. Khem Akhaing, Mr. Yin Louth, and Ms. Tomoko Okada.

 I wish to express my deepest appreciation to our speakers today: Ms. Margaret Bywater from the Hun Sen Library; Mr. Lim You Sour, director of the Copyright Office, Ministry of Culture; Mr. Keav Kosal, Khmer Writers Association, Ms. Huy Cheng Rathana, Room to Read; and Mr. Heng Sreang, PEN.   Also noteworthy is our Keynote speaker, American Fiction writer Horatio Potter who will address the issues of “What Makes a Good Short Story.”

Translator today is Pov Song, Thank you so much.  He will be providing a very short synopsis of the speaker’s content at the end of each presentation as time allows.  And finally I must thank my colleague John Weeks of Our Books, and our staff  Nhim  Soknea and Phally Kim whose heroic efforts have made this conference possible.

Keynote speaker, American fiction writer Horatio Potter and Suzi Nou

During the program, there will be some opportunity for questions to Mr Lim You Sour and Mr Horatio Potter.  You have been given blank cards, which you may  use to write down your question.  These cards will be collected and presented to the speaker.  The other presenters will likely be available for questions during the break. 

Audience at the June 29, 2013 conference

This year has been a positive turning point for the Nou Hach Literary Association,  established in 2002.  During the past year we have restructured the board, and sponsored over four writers workshops, the most  in our history.  Our goal remains to promote literacy along with the development of creative, modern literature in Cambodia.  We will continue in the direction of openness by moving our Journal publication to an online format as well as a print version.  Open source online access to our journal will allow more readers around the world to experience modern Cambodian literature.   We are also moving more aggressively to produce translations.  This year we published the first collection of Cambodian short fiction in English — “Just a Human Being and other contemporary Tales from Cambodia”—   now available here at Monument Book stores.   Our next publication in English will be titled “Transnational Cambodia”: It will contain poetry, short fiction, essay and a play by Cambodian authors from both Cambodia and the United States.

Awardees from left to write: third place prize for poetry, Loch Chantha; second place prize for poetry, Yeng Cheangly; first place prize for short story, Seng Chanmonirath; third place prize for short story, Loch Chantha.

Our guidelines for next year’s poetry and short story contests are available today at the reception table and online at our website  As always we seek poems and short fiction from writers with a new, fresh perspective on humanistic issues.  I would also like to announce that for the first time we will be offering a prize for Best Novella.  This will be a $300 award to the writer and a subsidized publication of the novella in Cambodia with  distribution.  We will accept the first 50 manuscripts from new writers who have never published a novella for consideration starting from July 1, 2013.  Information about the novella prize is also available at the reception desk.   There will be  poetry workshop on July  6 and 7 with poets Chin Meas, Yin Luoth and literary critic Akhaing Khem.  Please contact us if you are a published poet and interested in attending this workshop on modern forms of poetry.

Now, with great pleasure, I turn the program over to co-founder of the Nou Hach Literary Association Mr Yin Luoth, who will serve as the program MC.

Thank you all once again for your participation.