What prompted you to enter the KRWF Cambodian Emerging Writers Prize?
I entered the KRWF Cambodian Emerging Writers Prize because I had never heard of a writing competition for Cambodians before. It was both intriguing and exciting when I first read about it and I thought to myself: “why not?”
And so I did.
What is your favourite piece of literature and why?
My favorite piece of literature has to be a poem by Dylan Thomas, called: “Do not go gentle into that goodnight.” I like it not because it resonates with me or with anything in my life but simply because it made me feel something when I first read it. The poem is so full of emotions despite its morbid topic being death—telling readers to kick and scream when their doom approaches, instead of going quietly into the night.
I aspire to live as stubbornly.
Describe your motivation to write?
Instead of calling it my motivation to write, I prefer to call it my reason for writing and the reason why I write is to quench this unrelenting thirst to tell stories—to quiet the nagging ideas in my head, asking to be written down.
As a writer, who or what has influenced you the most?
Writers whose work has influenced me include J.K Rowling, Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare and Brandon Sanderson. However, the person who had influenced me the most as a writer would be my 8th Grade English teacher. He was the person who saw something in me and had encouraged me to read widely and write wildly. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have realized my passion as a writer nor would I have continued to write till this day.
What was the highlight of your Kampot Readers & Writers Festival experience?
The highlight of the Kampot Readers and Writers Festival for me would be listening to the guest speakers sharing their experiences and their stories. I also enjoyed the spoken word session and as well as the late night poetry slam.
As a young writer, how do you view the future of literature in Cambodia?
As a young Cambodian writer, I think we still have a long way to go in terms of the future of literature. During the Khmer Rouge, we had experienced a major set back where important literature, art and music were wiped out. Although quite some time has passed since then, it will still take a while longer to redeem and to recreate those legacies. Nonetheless, what matters is our current effort into building that future where literature will once again flourish and creative endeavors will once again be celebrated.