Cambodia & Australia, respectively
Addheka Seng was born the seventh of eight children to a family with loving parents who started their married life in Phnom Penh as Cambodia became an independent nation. At two, she contracted the polio virus which rendered her incapable of walking. She crawled for a decade before acupuncture allowed her to walk. Only two years later the Khmer Rouge entered then emptied the capital and the family’s home. Addheka managed to stay alive while those around her perished, mostly from disease and willful neglect. She emerged from the holocaust with her older sister Wantha, to gather together what family remained and begin again. Both sisters worked in the health system, and she now had to battle discrimination due to her disability.
Addheka’s unlikely and tenacious struggle for respect and her fervent desire to help those in need led to her establishment of an aid project to catch children and families who fell through the wide cracks in Cambodian society. She set up a language school, with the help of an NGO, which teaches the Khmer language to foreigners. It generates some of the funds for her humble and independent Aid Projects of Mercy, now looking after 650 children throughout the country.
In 2016, Addheka finally fulfilled her long held ambition to share her story by publishing “If on this Earth there are Angels”. The project took 18 months and Jim Pollock, one of her language students, assisted her. Jim is an Australian teacher who regularly visits Cambodia to build houses through an NGO called Tabitha.
One night in 1996, Australian cult video storeowner turned guerrilla filmmaker Andrew Leavold dreamt he was in the Philippines directing a documentary about Weng Weng, the two-foot-nine Filipino James Bond. Ten years later, he’s actually in Manila making a deal with the forces of chaos and following his two-decade obsession to its logical conclusion. It’s just the beginning of a very strange adventure, and as fate would have it, it’s all captured on film. As for Weng Weng: he remains an enigma even to those who worked with him. His reign as the midget Agent 00 was an outrageous novelty that plucked him from complete obscurity and returned him just as quickly. What was he like? When and how did he pass away? In a country of 80 million people, it seems the truth about Weng Weng has slipped between the cracks forever. Andrew Leavold dreamt he was in the Philippines directing a documentary about Weng Weng, the two-foot-nine Filipino James Bond. Ten years later, he’s actually in Manila making a deal with the forces of chaos and following his two-decade obsession to its logical conclusion. It’s just the beginning of a very strange adventure, and as fate would have it, it’s all captured on film. As for Weng Weng: he remains an enigma even to those who worked with him. His reign as the midget Agent 00 was an outrageous novelty that plucked him from complete obscurity and returned him just as quickly. What was he like? When and how did he pass away? In a country of 80 million people, it seems the truth about Weng Weng has slipped between the cracks forever.
“THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG” leapfrogs from one eccentric character to the next – directors, producers, actors, stuntmen, dwarf waiters, even Imelda Marcos herself, each one with a unique place in Filipino cinema – all the while dismantling the country’s greatest filmic urban legend. Proving reality sometimes really is stranger than fiction, it’s part detective story, part forgotten B film history, and part surreal Quest for the Holy Grail – that is, if the Grail is a two foot nine superstar called Weng Weng.
Andrish Saint-Clare. MA. Grad Dip Ed, began professional work in the arts as an actor and musician with Rex Cramphorne’s “Performance Syndicate”, a seminal Australian theatre company working with performance styles from diverse cultures. He continued to pursue cultural, musical and dramaturgical interests, researching & studying traditional “performance” in South America, Morocco, Indonesia and the Top End of Australia where he worked with traditional Indigenous performance-practice, in the remote communities of the Northern Territory and Kimberly from 1996 to 2013. That period resulted in major stage productions featured at International Arts Festivals in Australia and Indonesia. [“Harold”, “Trepang” and “Fire Fire Burning Bright”].
During this time, Andrish also established and/or produced and directed a number of arts and culture festivals, as well as working on many cultural-resource management and community development projects and doing arts and culture consultancy for a number of heritage and digital knowledge projects.
Andrish was awarded the prestigious Australia Council Fellowship for the Arts 2004-5 and an Asialink residency in Bali 2006. Andrish is enjoying his relatively short stay in Cambodia. He was delighted to be invited to stage an event in Preah Vihear in Cambodia last year, but has retired to what he thought would be a more contemplative time in Kampot.
Anne Lemaistre has been working for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for more than 20 years. She first joined UNESCO as a program specialist and then as the Chief of Policy and Statutory Unit for the UNESCO World Heritage Center. Since 2010, Anne has been the director and head of office for UNESCO in Cambodia. She worked with the Australian government and APSARA on a tourism management plan for the Angkor temples. Other projects include Cambodia UNESCO’s effort to improve the education system and help end the poverty cycle by elevating unskilled workers into skilled jobs through education, training, and job pairing.
Antonio Pineda is a Salvadoran poet, novelist, and actor. He is the author of the underground novel, The Magick Papers. Pineda celebrates poetry readings at international venues in Bangkok, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Phnom Penh. He is co-author of a cinema book, Dark Cabaret, with the Argentinean film director, Marcello Von Schvartz. Antonio also sings traditional and psychedelic blues-country-rock, as Frisco Tony. He has performed as a film actor and has IMDB credits for a dozen films, both as Antonio Pineda, and the imprimatur of his screen name, Antonis Greco.
In his halcyon youth, the beat poet Michael McClure, greatly influenced him as a mentor and inspired Pineda to write. McClure introduced him to Jim Morrison, legendary vocalist and poet for the Doors. The beat raphsode also introduced him to freewheeling Frank Reynolds, the mythic Hells Angel, with whom McClure penned an eponymous book about Reynolds life with the Hells Angels.
Antonio underwent an epiphany when he attended a reading by the great Russian immortals, Yvegeny Evtushenko and Andre Voznesensky, in San Francisco. The Russian poets were part of Ana Ahkmatova and her literary salon, which also nurtured Joseph Brodsky and Pasternak. He is a lover of surrealist cinema and magical realism.
Arn Chorn Pond is a Cambodian human rights activist dedicated to preserving traditional Cambodian, or Khmer, music.
Him Sophy, a Khmer musician, composed an opera, Where Elephants Weep, in 2007 that is loosely inspired by Pond’s life. A Song for Cambodia, a children’s book published by Michelle Lord in 2008, follows the events of his life.
Another book fictionalizing his childhood during the Khmer Rouge was published by Patricia McCormick in 2012 called Never Fall Down. Arn Chorn Pond is also the subject of the 2003 documentary by Jocelyn Glatzer called, The Flute Player, which will be screening at KWRF 2016.
The Batbangers are an original Cambodian rock band. The burning desire behind their popular music is to inspire Cambodians to write, perform, and have pride in their own, original music. Power riffs, pumping drums, chunky bass, and strong melodies, characterize their music along with a mesmerizing and frenetic stage presence.
The Batbangers first performed at Madison Corner in downtown Battambang, Cambodia, in early 2015. Quickly establishing a reputation for their high-energy live performances, they picked up a slew of gigs all around Cambodia and began writing their own songs. Lead singer, songwriter & guitarist is Sao Sony, together with Chhoerm Sokhom (lead guitarist), Chik Brosgna (bass guitarist), Heang Visith (drums), and Roeurm Sophea (keyboards). All in their mid-twenties and from Battambang, the band was formed from a shared desire to bring some fresh original Cambodian rock music to the world!
BBC Media Action has worked in Cambodia since 2003. Using media to improve public health, their projects have tackled maternal and child health issues, HIV/AIDS and, malaria. BBC Media Action’s work focuses particularly on using TV, radio, and online media to reach young people in Cambodia. Loy9 helped get young people involved in local and national decision-making and Love9 helped young people learn about sexual and reproductive health issues. Klahan9 is currently working to improve young people’s employment prospects.
Beyond Refuge: Flashback is the filmmaking debut for Cabramatta local Sean Ly, in which he goes on a journey of personal discovery to learn and record the previously unshared story of his parents – refugees from Cambodia who settled in Western Sydney in the 1980s.
Through interviews as a mother and father speaking to their son, they recall past experiences and share flashbacks of displacement and resettlement. The 25-minute film is set against a soundtrack that is a tribute to their love of pre-revolution Khmer soul and rock music.
Sean Ly is a 25 year old youth development worker living in Cabramatta, Australia and he part of the CuriousWorks development program for community cultural leaders known as the Curious Creators. Sean is also a major music lover across many genres. Lead singer Channthy Kak from the international music sensation, The Cambodian Space Project has contributed original music from a recent Australian tour, to underscore this film.
Sean’s motivation is based on a shared philosophy with CuriousWorks to enable former refugees to retell the Australian refugee story from their own perspective.
For background, visit www.curiousworks.com.au/project/beyond-refuge
The Bunong Cultural Troup presents alluring, magical, mountain music from the tribal Bunong musicians living in rural Bou Sra, Mondulkiri, Cambodia. The troupe represents an intangible living treasure of precious, world heritage music and dance culture. The 91-year-old tribal chief, Lok Ta, joins KWRF to discuss the beauty and diversity of the quickly disappearing oral history, culture, traditions, and artistic language of his people.
Writer, screenwriter, director and novelist, British-born Bob Couttie has spent more than 35 years in South-East Asia, including 15 years in the Philippine film industry. Best known for his writings on Philippine history, including Hang The Dogs: The True Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre, and his dramas for BBC Radio 4, he settled in Kampot in 2012. Bob’s first novel is Temple of the Leper King, a crime story set in Kampot. It is currently being developed for a movie under the title Velon. He lives alone with two unaffectionate cats.
Sassy songstress Lue Thy fronts the Bokor Mountain Magic Band (BMMB), a satellite project by members of The Cambodian Space Project. Lue Thy and the BMMB are the liveliest of Cambodia’s new wave of Sixties-styled, garage-rock-a-go-go groups, writing some of the Cambodia Rock’s most infectious and danceable new and original songs.
Carlos Andrés Gómez is an award-winning writer and performer from New York City. Winner of the 2015 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, Carlos is the author of the memoir “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood,” released by Penguin Random House. A star of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and Spike Lee’s #1 movie “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington, he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was named Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards. A former social worker and public school teacher, Carlos has performed at more than 400 colleges and universities and been featured on NPR, TEDx, Upworthy, and MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry.”
Chin Meas was born Sept. 3, 1980, at Teangphleng village, Kompong Cham province. In 2007 he received a monk’s certificate for teaching Buddhism and in 2010 he received a BA in Cambodian literature from Khemarah University in Phnom Penh. During this time he served as an ordained monk. Subsequently, Chin Meas left the monastery and married. He won awards for poetry from the Nou Hach Literary Association in 2007 and 2008. His collection of poetry “Water Drop” was published in 2011. He now lives in Siem Reap province. A prolific poet and novella writer, he is currently working on a collection of literary essays.
Chin won awards for poetry from the Nou Hach Literary Association in 2007 and 2008. His collection of poetry “Water Drop” was published in 2011. He now lives in Siem Reap province. A prolific poet and novella writer, he is currently working on a collection of literary essays.
Chath Piersath is an esteemed Cambodian-American poet, humanitarian, and painter. He creates portraits of people he remembers and most represent the economic and social disparity throughout Cambodia. He escaped with his family in 1979, near the end of Khmer Rouge, and immigrated with his older siblings to the United States in 1981.
Chath studied at World College West/New College of California, before returning to Cambodia in 1994 as a volunteer for Cambodian American National Development Organization (CANDO). He now spends half the year in Phnom Penh, painting and writing, and the other half of the year on his farm in the United States. Much of his poetry deals with his bi-cultural experience and his memories from the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields, including his poem “A Letter to My Mother” published in Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs of Survivors.
Chris Rompre is the writer, director, cinematographer, and producer of the 2015 documentary “The Man Who Build Cambodia,” screeing at KWRF 2016. The film explores the life of Vann Molyvann, an architect whose work came to represent a new identity for a country emerging from independence, and whose incredible story encompasses Cambodia’s turbulent journey as a modern nation. Now nearly 90, the film follows Vann Molyvann as he reflects on the country into which he put so much of himself.
Chris also co-founded littleBIG Films, a production house based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. litteBIG Fims specializes in promotional video production, international documentary, and public service. Their clients include the World Food Programme, UN Children’s Fund, BBC Media Action, World Vision, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Discovery Channel, and the Asian Development Bank.
Claire Marchant-Collier is a writer currently living in Kampot. She performed AT Edinburgh International Book Festival and at other book festivals across the UK. Her work has been published in various anthologies and magazines including Chase The Moon, Like The Wind, and New Writing Scotland. Previously, she worked for a literary agency in the UK and as Writer Development Coordinator at the Scottish Book Trust.
Clinton Walker is an Australian writer, best known for his works on popular music but with a broader interest in social and cultural history and theory. Sydney’s Sun-Herald has called him “our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture.” He has always been ahead of the curve. As Rhythms magazine said in 2015, “Like many of Walker’s projects, Buried Country was at least a decade ahead of its time,” and as such he is remarkable as a critic who has exerted a pro-active impact on Australian music and its development, with the way that his groundbreaking books like Inner City Sound (1981) and Buried Country (2000) especially have informed and inspired successive generations of musicians. Similarly, while he found his best-selling success as Bon Scott’s biographer, non-music books like Football Life (1998) and Golden Miles (2005) have innovatively offered an appreciation of subjects hitherto hardly deemed worthy of serious consideration.
Conrad Keely is an artist, writer, and musician known as the lead singer for the United States rock band, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. He is also a visual artist that studied at The Evergreen State College in Washington State, USA. He draws influence from comic illustrations with X-Men as a favorite. He enjoys comics and the lowbrow art movement, but prefers older art styles to modern art on the whole. He wrote an article in 2003 for Filter magazine called, “Modern Art is Shit,” where he went into greater detail about his dislike of the modern art movement.
Conrad combines his artistic and musical talents by designing and illustrating the majority of Trail of Dead’s album cover art. He believes the art on the cover and packaging for their album, Madonna, helped get the notice of Jimmy Iovine, the co-founder of Interscope Records, to offer …And You will Know Us By the Trail of Dead’s major record deal. Conrad has spent several years working on a science fiction, graphic novel called Strange News from Another Planet.
CREATIVE BREAKFAST with Corinne Tan, Chanrasmey Koam and Janneke Hoogstraaten
Janneke Hoogstraaten makes things and makes things happen. She is an artist and (art) event organizer living in Phnom Penh. She seeks to create meaningful experiences through art, events, and human interaction. She is always on the lookout to connect, create, and collaborate. Janneke made things happen in Phnom Penh for Samai, laasai, Intercontinental Phnom Penh, the Plantation Urban Resort & Spa, Meta House, Art Cult, Mito Hotel, and several international and local artists.
Chanrasmey Koam is an award winning filmmaker and has been producing documentaries, TVCs and PSAs broadcast on Cambodian television for more than a decade. In addition to working as producer with Studio DílITT, he is the current head of video production at The Phnom Penh Post. Chanramsey previously appeared regularly on CTN as a reporter on the Youth Today show and has worked on projects for diverse client list, including the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, and the National Bank of Cambodia. He collaborates with filmmakers across the region such as Japan, the Philippines, and Myanmar.
Corinne Tan is an art director, photographer, and graphic designer from New Zealand. She currently is the head of training and an art director at ithinkasia, as well as a freelance humanitarian photographer. She worked in event management while in university for 3 years, and took part in running large events such as the New Zealand Music Awards. She also helped put on networking events for business people of high net worth, on behalf of PwC New Zealand, before settling in Phnom Penh.
Dara Ly is a graduate of the University of Puthisastra and the founder and CEO of LAS Presidents, He is the president of Scholar Library Reading Club and the chairperson of the project, Read to Book Fair. Dara also founded Learn and Share with Dara Ly (Las Dara) with his 5 years of experience in education and training. He is an extremely influential speaker that can inspire people to believe in themselves.
Dara experimented with reading and learned the secret behind it. After 1049 failures in reading, he knows what to do and what not to do, and he wants to share his experience with 10,000 people. The 779 books Dara read have been interpreted into his personal terms and simplified into a common language that people can understand. He reads people as well as he reads books, so he understands your struggles better than anyone else.
Outspoken DJ Nana, Sovathana Neang, has captured the imagination of a generation of young Cambodians through her bold agony aunt-esque radio show and strong Facebook presence. An interview with DJ Nana was published in AsiaLIFE by editor Marissa Carruthers. in which she revealed her incredible success with her radio shows, her being awarded the Cambodia Youth Champion Award and her entry into TV reality shows and the newly finished film: Make it Beautiful.
“Dream Land embraces Cambodian future and bids farewell to its ruined past. Along the ride, the film pushes its protagonists against an impossibility of the change. It was an elegant dance of time and memory. I believe that this is an important episode for Cambodian and regional cinema.” – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Lisa is a career-driven woman in her late 20s. She lives in the developing metropolis of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, selling modern and upscale real estate developments to the growing middle and upper class in contemporary Cambodia. Lisa may be thriving as a top real estate agent, but in her personal life, her relationship with her photographer boyfriend is deteriorating. Unable to escape the trauma and prison of her interior monologue, she travels to the quiet beach town of Cape, Cambodia, with her close companions. While the growth and modernisation of the city promote an urban and cultural erasure, Kep reveals treasures from Cambodia’s heritage. It is there that she discovers that the spectres from the past haunting in sublime and beautiful ways.
From the first-time writer, director, and producer Steve Chen, and shooting over a mere 16 days with a crew of only 10 people, Dream Land is both an elegy and hope for Cambodian society today. A film by Steve Chen, with actors: Lida Duch, Sokun Nhem, Hak Kim, Kanityha Tith, and Sambath Sem, Dream Land is screening at KWRF 2016.
Epic Arts believes in a world where every person counts and where people with disabilities are valued, accepted and respected. They promote the inclusion of people of all abilities and disabilities through the arts. They use the arts as a form of expression and empowerment to bring people with and without disabilities together. It is an international, inclusive arts organization based in Cambodia and registered as a charity in the UK.
Epic Arts built the first fully accessible Arts Center in South East Asia and, from there, many projects developed. The Special Education Project addresses the lack of assistance for students with learning disabilities in and around Kampot. Epic Encounters joins talented dancers and theater performers both with and without disabilities. The Epic Café serves up delicious food while increasing the number of work opportunities for people with in Kampot and Epic Creations displays the fun and beautiful artistic creations made through their various programs.
Eric Galmard started traveling after studying literature and film. He has worked in several Asian countries (the Philippines, Cambodia and Japan) and in the Pacific region (Fiji Islands), both in university and through the French cultural network. Since 2009, Eric has taught in the Faculty of Arts at Strasbourg University, notably lecturing in documentary cinema and Asian cinema. “A Tomb for Khun Srun” is his first feature-length film.
“His process in visual arts are the trademark of his freedom of thought and his strong critical sense.”
Erick Gonzalez was born in Guatemala City. He studied social communication and started a visual artist career as a painter. He then visited France for the first time in 1999, before coming to Cambodia in 2004. Erick continually seeks new forms of artistic expression. He has experimented and multiplied his techniques (serigraphy, stencil, installations, objects and photo) in order to find the harmony between the support and the concept. His artistic work deals with social issues such as identity, memory, etc.
Erick exhibited his artworks in America and Europe: UNESCO headquarters in Paris where he represented Guatemala at the “Festival of Cultural Diversity”, Salon International of Renault group, as a guest of honor, Council of Europe, The Arts Club in London, Art Biennale of Paiz in Guatemala in 2006 and Juannio in Guatemala in 2012 and 2013 and also in Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, Norway. Currently, he lives in Cambodia and had a solo exhibition in Bophana Center in March 2016.
Flori Green was born in France, near Paris in 1989 and is now based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Flori has always felt a deep connection to the arts and her creative side, however she never dared to dream of a life made of art. She never felt comfortable in the classic model of life imposed by society. So, in October 2015, she decided to explore South-East Asia.
Very quickly, Flori understood that life could be different than what she had been told growing up. She gradually learned that the world could be her canvas. She painted her first wall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December 2015. Since then Flori has been painting and travelling throughout Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. In May 2016 she was invited to paint a mural at a restaurant in Cambodia, and has not left since.
Much like life, the paint can be placed and guided, but not controlled. With her art, Flori is trying to find her balance in living life and peace of mind in order to connect her down-to-earth side with her absent-minded one.
The Green Hub
Green/environmental literacy is a crucial ingredient for ensuring a sustainable future for humanity and the planet. In recognition of its importance, this year’s KWRF will feature a dedicated ‘green hub’, where visitors will be able to read, learn and share their environmental stories. Events at the hub will include:
* A climate change photo-documentary story exhibition, featuring images and words from the communities of the Koh Rong archipelago.
* An exhibition and essay writing competition, supported by the WWF tiger programme.
* Participation by the student authors, from the Liger Learning Centre, of The Illustrated Guide to the Wildlife of Cambodia.
* Presentations and discussions by Khmer and other ‘green leaders’.
Helen Hopcroft is an Australian artist and a writer, with a passion for the Arabian Nights and fairy tales. She grew up on the island of Tasmania, completed a Fine Arts degree in Hobart, then travelled to London to study Painting at the Royal College of Art (1992-1994). Her publication list includes The Griffith Review, Art Monthly, Ceramic Art & Perception, The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. She has written two books: 100 Women (co-written with Katharine Gillett) featuring biographies of notable women associated with the University of Newcastle, Australia, and The Silver Tales, a 25 year history of Hunter Valley Grammar School (due to be published late 2016).
Along the way, Helen has been a sailing journalist, working in media teams at Hamilton Island and other major races, and co-curated (with Caelli Jo Brooker) the contemporary art exhibitions Year of the Bird (2013) and Happily Ever After: alternative destinies in contemporary feminine narrative (2011). She is in the final stages of a PhD at the University of Newcastle, and her topic is Animals, Sex and the Orient: a Feminist Retelling of the Arabian Nights.
Workshop: My life as a fairytale
Drawing on Cambodia’s rich history of oral storytelling, folk and fairy tales, this practical workshop invites participants to imagine their life as a fairytale, and to create a simple handmade book with themselves as the hero or heroine. All materials supplied, and you don’t need to be able to draw or write beautifully to attend: stick figures and dot points will do nicely! Marina Warner, the famous fairy tale scholar, once wrote that “fairy tales express hopes,” while Angela Carter described them as possessing “heroic optimism”. Perhaps imagining yourself in a fairy tale will bring some magic into your life?
Helen Jarvis has worked on issues relating to genocide in Cambodia since the mid-1990s. From 1994-2001 she was Consultant on Documentation for Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program; since 1999 she has worked with the Cambodian Government Task Force for the Khmer Rouge Trials; and between 2006 and 2010 she was Chief of Public Affairs and Chief of the Victims’ Support Section at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
She holds a PhD in Indonesian studies from the University of Sydney and was formerly an associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. Her scholarly publications are too numerous to list here, but include books on cities, gender, work/life balance, social reproduction and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, as well as many solo-author, peer-review articles in top ranking journals. She is regularly invited to speak at international symposia and to provide opinion and debate on new urban policies for sustainability in national and international news media. She holds both Australian and Cambodian nationality and is an adviser to the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Iain Donnelly, writing as Steven W. Palmer, is a Scottish expat now in his fourth year in Cambodia. With a previous career that has encompassed social work and drug counselling, and then as editor for The Weekly magazine from the Khmer Times, he is now managing editor for three Cambodian based magazines.
His first novel was Electric Irn Bru Acid Test, a coming of age story set in 1980s Scotland and part of an eventual trilogy, The Glas Vegas Chronicles. His first novel set in Cambodia was 2015’s Angkor Away, a book that established him as part of the burgeoning and vibrant Asian noir scene. His second novel, Angkor Tears, sees its Cambodian launch at the festival and has been praised for tackling the often taboo subjects of people trafficking and child abuse. He is currently working on a dystopian sci-fi noir book set in Bangkok in the second half of this century and then plans the third and final part of the Angkor series.
Frustrated by the difficulties in importing books to Cambodia, Iain has just launched Saraswati Publishing, an independent publishing house based in Phnom Penh that will initially publish the two Angkor novels but which aims to showcase young emerging Khmer writing talent as well as giving a platform for expatriate writers based in Cambodia.
Ian Croft moved to Cambodia in 1999 and is co-Founder of 60 Road Studios, Cambodia’s leading music recording studio, based in Siem Reap. 60 Road Studios offers recording/production to international artists and some of Cambodia’s leading musicians. At the same time, 60 Road Studios provides assistance to emerging local musicians through recording, publishing/distribution, training, and the hosting of collaborative music projects.
Earlier this year, Ian organized the first “ChubMet” music festival, a six-day event in Siem Reap featuring over 30 musicians/bands. Ian also manages a small restaurant (New Leaf) that donates its profits to educational projects, including to one of Siem Reap’s music schools
Ian Wiggins is a UK born, Cambodian-based filmmaker, producer, director, associate producer and writer. He discovered filmmaking as a hobby whilst working the railways in Blackburn, Manchester. Ian eventually retired from the railways to become a full-time videographer. His early credits include “Internet Sensation” and the independently released remake ‘Task Force,” which he wrote, produced, and filmed.
Ian has written three screenplays since permanently locating to Cambodia in 2010, all currently in the pre-production stage, and he produced a short film titled “Waiting”. Ian specializes in NGO productions, working with organizations such as the Angkor Hospital for Children and M’Lop Tapang. He provides production consultation for numerous hotels, embassies and tourism associations on an international level, including an annual film for the Gambian Tourism Board.
In 2014, Ian collaborated with Hugh W. Brown, an actor/perform from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to produce his first Cambodian, feature length film “Inside The Belly of a Dragon,” screening at KWRF. The two combined Khmer and Celtic music to create the score for the movie, incorporating the work of (Rob O’Hara) with the Kampot School of Music (KCDI). Further collaborators of the unique soundtrack include Colin Blakey (The Waterboys) and Julien Poulson (Cambodian Space Project).
“I am a global citizen who has lived in a variety of places…from the highlands of Guatemala, to the pristine beaches of Fiji and then onwards to the remote islands of Vanuatu and finally to northern Thailand. My favorite past time is traveling the world; the remoter the place, the better. I have dined with cannibals, danced with tribal hill people and canoed in shark-infested waters. Each and every place I have encountered, speaks to me with a different voice. I listen to these voices as I write them in stories or in poems.”
Several publishers are currently reviewing Ina Solum’s first novel and she hopes to have it published by the end of the year. She has published several works of poetry as well. She is an active member of a Chiang Mai poetry group and a poetry performers group.
WHY LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS VOICES?
“We, indigenous peoples, use our resources in a way that promotes regeneration and re-growth. We preserve our cultural identity and we take care of the environment to ensure that future generations can peacefully and safely coexist with nature in the same way. But oil exploitation would inevitably mean an end to our life and culture as we know it. It would lead to environmental disaster and social destruction, and would contribute to the devastating consequences of climate change that we are already facing.” (Amazon Watch: Nina Gualinga 2014)
At a time of unprecedented and rapid development all over the world, the Voices of Indigenous peoples are becoming more and more important, especially as communities, who largely derive their livelihood, cultural identity and know-how from the ancestral lands they occupy. Indigenous knowledge of the environment built up over generations of deep familiarity means they are often the first to see the effects of serious changes that may even have effects far beyond their holdings. Unfortunately Indigenous voices are often not understood or simply ignored, the unique knowledge and cultural heritage lost, as the people are scattered and land and life are changed forever.
Not all Indigenous people however, want to retain entirely traditional life-styles. Some leaders are development friendly, but would prefer their community to share in the governance and management of the risks and benefits of ‘development’. Indigenous communities may want training, schools, health clinics, sanitation and business opportunities for example, but are often trapped in situations where they don’t have the economic, political and/or legal power to negotiate protection for their estates, their values, their irreplaceable culture, their language, and their lifestyles. It is often hard or impossible for them to even get a seat at the table so they can voice their concerns before their future is decided.
Of course we are talking about people’s lives, the beating heart of belonging to a living culture in a place and a time. ‘Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity’ (Santiphap, Seripheap, Pheap Roungrueng). This is why Indigenous Voices are important, just like the land and the waters and the sky, cultural diversity is a rich resource that keeps on giving, if it is respected and cared for.
This year, following on from the much appreciated appearance of the venerable Kong Nay and his son at the inaugural festival, KWRF is privileged to host the Hill Tribe Storytellers of Bou’Sra and showcase another of the Kingdom’s Indigenous Wonders. (a saint-clare)
“It is my vision to support artists. It is their culture, their soul, their ancestors’ culture – we need to engage young people in the arts, and give them an opportunity to make a living while keeping their culture alive – this festival is about coming together to support artists to do just that.”
(Arn Chorn Pond – Founder Cambodian Living Arts)
James Newman is cutting his anchors and leaving the shore. He probably sails under a black flag and his destination is rather undefined. He’s not concerned with heaven or hell, though both feature prominently in Fun City Punch, the most far out and radical in his Joe Dylan series.
Newman started off writing about Bangkok/Pattaya’s dirty underbelly and conjured up a great line-up of demented reprobates who inhabit the night of one of the sleaziest, most lawless parts of the world that isn’t in an actual state of war. But times have changed since the publication of his earlier novels. Fun City is no longer much fun…
The power of Fun City Punch lies in the details, the rich language, the torrid corridors of verbal fireworks that lead into post-modern echo chambers crammed with the screams of a thousand and one wasted human narratives. This is where Newman shines like a dead star from another galaxy – his descriptions of the mad world he created are so cunning that they propel us back into our own desperate and crazy realities. Fun City Punch will debut at KWRF 2016.
Jayne Moore is a regular visitor to Kampot and a supporter of the KWRF. She taught as a certified yoga instructor in Jervis Bay, Australia for the past 18 years. She hopes to share her love of yoga throughout the festival time by conducting a one-hour session each morning. These sessions will include gentle stretching exercises and a short meditation, the perfect way to begin each day of the festival.
Jenny Pisani is an American poet from Staten Island, New York. She is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer until 2017 in the rural Cambodian countryside. She studied at Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York where she doubled majored in Creative Writing and Psychology. While finishing her master’s degree in English Education, she truly found the power of poetry not only in its creation, but also in the process of sharing and teaching.
After working as a counselor for developmentally disabled adults, Jenny taught English at a high school in Staten Island. She also helped to organize poetry slams for her students, helping to give voices to youth that are so often left unheard. Before coming to Cambodia, she won the NYSAI slam, where her work was published as well. She performed her poetry across New York City as well as in Denver, Colorado. Jenny has been writing, performing and teaching about poetry within her Takeo province village, as well as Phnom Penh.
Julien Poulson is an arts raconteur, writer, producer, and culture vulture from Tasmania. He has worked as a photographer, political cartoonist, graphic designer, musician, filmmaker, and arts administrator. Julien has twenty years experience in the Australian music industry as well as strong interests in film, visual and media arts (and their convergence points). He has toured with rock bands in Australian and USA, devised and managed music festivals, worked with boards, committees and membership-based organisations, implemented industry programs, managed an independent record label and published magazines including founding 3PBSfm’s Easey Street magazine.
In 2007, Julien released two solo albums through his Mistophone Records. Rolling Stone Magazine said of The Green Mist’s debut Next Stop Antarctica “…while the names are impressive, what’s more so is the quality of the music, which is inky and sombre but still possessed of a relentless energy… seemingly disparate parts coming together to form a very impressive whole.” 4/5.
The same year, Poulson traveled to Cambodia on an Asialink Residency to learn more about Cambodian music and arts. After a three month visit, Poulson returned to Cambodia in 2009 to begin writing and researching a film project The River Flows Backwards – a music documentary – however, Poulson soon formed a band himself, The Cambodian Space Project, and embarked upon an undulating orbit of the planet, touring with CSP. In 2010, Poulson was awarded The Alcorso Foundation’s prestigious Italian Arts Residency and spent three months living in Venice where he wrote music and libretto for a Western titled “Muskito” in collaboration with The Beards of Venice and American producer Professor Louie (The Band, Bob Dylan, Mercury Rev).
Presently Julien resides in Kampot, Cambodia, where he writes, producers and manages KAMA (Kampot Arts & Music Association) – producer of Kampot Writers’ & Readers’ Festival. Poulson’s made-in-Kampot rock opera “Cosmic Cambodia” premiered to sold-out shows this year’s Sydney Festival. He is presently taking a break from touring to write a book and screen play.
The Kampot Playboys are a Khmer rock and roll group fronted by Kampot local, Chiet Ukam. Chiet also runs the town’s very popular Madi Bar where The Kampot Playboys play a fusion of Cambodian traditional, rock and pop songs, combined with traditional Western folk, rock and ska flavor.
For over 20 years, the Kampot Traditional Music School has been supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children whilst doing invaluable work in the preservation and restoration of traditional Cambodian performing arts.
Kat Koepnick floated to Cambodia like she’s floated through most of her life. She arrived in 2015 at the start of an adventure that has yet to end. Ten months and nine countries turned into almost two years, with more than half in Cambodia. Now she lives in Kampot where she works as a freelance writer, poet, and taco-making extraordinaire. Previous adventures led her to work as a sandwich artist, a physician’s scribe, a paralegal in a medical malpractice law office, a shoveler of horse shit (unrelated to the previous), and the breakfast queen on an island that may actually have been Wonderland.
Kat is the proud owner of countless, incoherent notebooks, two abandoned blogs, a broken pair of running shoes, twelve books repeatedly stolen from various places around the world, and a ginger kitten named Valerie. Several thousand words for a novel about her experiences on the island haunt her daily in the hopes of a faster transition from the ethereal to the tangible. She began writing and performing spoken word poetry after once giving an impromptu rendition of a screaming, running Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shakespeare birthplace. She considers this one of her highest achievements to date.
Kat Weiner started her music career in dirty pub basements in London, where she soon sold four and a half albums and gained nearly a dozen fans. She honed her songwriting talents on Koh Ta Kiev, where she developed her quirky voice and repertoire of heartfelt songs.
The Khmer Magic Music Bus project as an idea originally formed when Steve Riege and Arn Chorn Pond watched Master Ta Hai play his gann on an isolated dirt road in Oddar Mencheay Province in July 2012. The villagers who came out to listen were hearing a live performance of their own traditional music for the first time, and were transfixed by the event. The Bus project was born out of a desire to recreate this experience throughout Cambodia.
The Khmer Magic Music Bus intends to carpet Cambodia with music by helping Cambodian master musicians and their students return traditional music performance and education to the people of rural Cambodia, one village at a time.
Kiki Lovechild is a professional idiot. He is one of the leading cabaret clowns on the UK circuit, touring with variety shows as well as performing in
With training in mime, clowning, magic, music, escapology and more, he is one of the more varied performers on the scene. In the past few years he has been busy performing a number of successful clown shows, including his solo shows “The Weatherman” and “Sheets”, and a family show “The Man Who Knows Everything”.
Away from the stage, Kiki works at a clown school based in London, helping to teach and inspire a wide variety of new and existing comedy performers. He is currently working with students at Epic Arts in Kampot.
The Killing Fields is a British drama film from 1984 depicting the Cambodian Khmer Rouge regime. The experiences of two journalists, Dith Pran from Cambodia and Sydney Schanberg from the United States, is a 1984 British drama film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, formed the plot base. Roland Joffé directed the film and it stars Haing S. Ngor as Pran, Sam Waterston as Schanberg, John Malkovich as Al Rockoff, and Julian Sands as Jon Swain. The Killing Fields won three Academy Awards and eight BAFTA Awards.
Kosal Khiev is a poet, tattoo artist, and survivor of the US prison system. Born in a Thai refugee camp, Kosal’s family fled to the U.S in 1981. Kosal’s family left the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge war for the promise of peace and prosperity in America. Instead of the American dream, Kosal’s family lived in grim public housing with scarce social services. Kosal admits to making poor choices as a teenager that led him into more violence, poverty, and eventually prison. At the age of 16, Kosal was arrested in a gang fight and charged with attempted murder. While serving 14 years in prison, after being tried as an adult, he discovered spoken word poetry from a former Vietnam War veteran. Upon release in 2011, the U.S. government deported him to Cambodia, a country he had never been.
Kosal uses poetry to uplift his situation, with compelling performances at NERD night, The Body Open Mic series, and Mao’s. He was selected as the first artist-in-residence with Studio Revolt, a new media lab based in Phnom Penh. There he is collaborating on “Spoken Kosal: Verses in Exile,” a series of short films featuring his poetry. He has additionally lectured at the Royal University of Phnom Penh on the topic of US immigration and its juvenile detention system. Kosal lives as an exiled American in Phnom Penh, where he continues to share his story and art at open mics, universities, and public stages.
Kalyan Ky is an award-winning businesswomen, writer, activist, and philanthropist. Herfamily fled Cambodia as refugees after the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the subsequent civil war. They originally settled in New Zealand before migrating to Australia.
She is currently the CEO of the Trade Partnership Centre (TPC), which aims to foster and facilitate closer economic and societal connections between Cambodians and the rest of the world. Kalyan is also a board member of the Cambodia-based Professional Research Institute for Management and Economics (PRIME), President of the Cambodia Australia New Zealand Exchange Mission (CANZEM), and actively supports several Cambodian school and child welfare organisations. She is currently in the process of launching the National Press Club of Cambodia (NPCC) to promote press freedom and peaceful dialogue.
Kalyan has been a long-time advocate for multiculturalism and refugee inclusion in Australia. She originally worked for the Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network and the Ethnic Youth Council. She now serves on the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Regional Advisory Council, and, previously, as an Australia Day Ambassador. She is the author of several short stories and a book of poetry, and is a regular speaker at events including writers’ festivals in Australia and Cambodia.
Lara Dunston is an Australian-born, Asia-based travel, and food writer. She has written hundreds of stories, and authored and updated dozens of guidebooks for the world’s best publishers, often in collaboration with her creative, writer-photographer husband Terence Carter.
Terence and Lara run the popular travel site Grantourismo, produce websites and digital content, and are developing cookbooks. Lara has been editor-at-large for Lifestyle+Travel magazine, destination expert for numerous travel sites, and consults on writing, digital storytelling, social media and content strategy. Lara and Terence also craft bespoke itineraries and plan trips, host culinary-focused writing and photography tours, and, in 2017, will be hosting a writing retreat in Kampot.
Laura Jean McKay writes about humans and other animals. She is the author of Holiday in Cambodia, a story collection that explores the electric zone where local and foreign lives meet. Laura has lived and worked in Cambodia as a volunteer, an aid worker, a writer, and a teacher. In 2009, she worked with Nou Hach Literary Association in Phnom Penh through an Asialink Literature Residency. During this time, she worked with groups of writing students and collaborated with artists on performance and writing projects, as well as producing the stories for her collection.
Laura’s work has appeared in The Best Australian Stories (Aus), The North American Review (US) and Nou Hach Literary Journal (Cambodia). Laura is also the winner of the Alan Marshall short story award and a recipient of a Martin Bequest Travelling Scholarships. Currently, Laura is a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne, Australia, where she is completing a novel and dissertation about humans and animals.
Workshop: Writing by the river – writing about place
Everybody has a story, we are born into stories and we make new stories every day. Let’s talk about the craft of the short story, where ideas comes from, and how we can draw from an environment like the beautiful city of Kampot to write great fiction. After we’ve talked, we’ll work – moving through a series of exercises that source inspiration from Kampot, the Praek Tuek Chhu river and the feeling of place. Whether you’re just starting out or have been writing for years, come and share stories with a close community of people.
“Creating a brighter future by realizing the potential of a promising child.”
The Liger Learning Center is a progressive institution using the latest educational philosophy and pedagogy combined with grounding in necessary skills to offer a program that is truly responsive to the needs of our students and the world they live in.
Through project-based learning and a focus on entrepreneurship and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh prepares students to drive Cambodia’s future social and economic development. The Liger Charitable Foundation is creating a model, informed by global awareness and rooted in local culture, to ensure that promising, economically disadvantaged students have the capacity, drive, and network to lead their country’s future.
Lionel Scherer is a poet, actor, and singer. His own works include writing and directing a documentary film “Un Dragon Dans L’Oreille,” creating of a poetic ritual “Transtextuel,” his first book, El Camino Real et Autres Chants, and writing and producing radio travel documentaries for France Culture. He writes his own songs and partners with theater companies, street theater, contemporary dance and painters.
Scherer fully-intergrated into the world of SLAM poetry as a poet-performer and leader of workshops and scenes. The creation of “SHIR-IN”, slam-rock-live painting and video show/performance with the company De La Frontière in 2009/2010 marks a significant step towards the opening and transdisciplinary. Since 2011, he lives mostly in Southeast Asia. He performed in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville. He lives part of the year in Kampot, seduced by the quality of its silence and because “we must stay away from the judgment of men.” He loves the human adventure as an antidote to his misanthropy, travel-flashes, the magic of transgression, world-cities and deserts. He is often found at the border.
Lok Ta is the oldest living member of Cambodia’s indigenous Bunong tribal people of Mondulkiri. He is a tribal chief, great, great grandfather, teacher, and custodian of Bunong culture. At 91 years old, Lok Ta offers an extraordinary window into the rich, diverse, and rapidly vanishing tradition, oral history, culture and artistic language of the Bunong “Elephant People” from the Mountainous Mondulkiri region.
Lord David Putnam is the chair of Atticus Education, an online education company based in Ireland. Atticus, through a unique arrangement with BT Ireland, delivers interactive seminars on film and a variety of other subjects to educational institutions around the world.
David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 BAFTAs, and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.
Lord Putnam retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries. He founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008. He was president of UNICEF UK (2002-2009), engaging with issues as diverse as water security and child trafficking.
Lord Putnam is also the Republic of Ireland’s Digital Champion; President of the Film Distributors’ Association; Chair of the TSL Advisory Board; Chair of the Academic Board, Pearson College; a UNICEF Ambassador, and Adjunct Professor of Film Studies and Digital Humanities at University College Cork. In 2007, he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill.
Lord Putnam was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France, he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas. In 2012, he was appointed the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In 2016, Lord Putnam was appointed as International Ambassador for WWF.
Lue Thy is the sassy songstress of Cambo-Western garage-a-go-go group, The Bokor Mountain Magic Band. The band is a satellite project of music producer Julien Poulson and members of his Cambodian Space Project. Lue Thy is of Khmer Krom descent, an ethnic minority in Cambodia, and grew up in Phnom Penh. She currently lives there, working in hospitality and studying at Phnom Penh’s Music Art School.
Luke Hunt began his career in journalism in the mid-1980s after travelling through what was then some of the world’s trouble spots, including Northern Ireland and the south of Morocco. Initially, Hunt worked for Australian Associated Press and then Agence France-Presse where he served as bureau chief in Afghanistan and Cambodia and was the first journalist to enter Baghdad with the US marines in 2003. He also covered the conflicts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Kashmir, and focussed on counter-terrorism in Southeast Asia. Based out of Phnom Penh, he writes for The Diplomat, The Economist and occasionally The New York Times and was author of the book Barings Lost.
Hunt was personally commended for his coverage of the Afghan civil war by the UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi and his work has been honoured by the World Association of Newspapers and the Society of Publishers in Asia. He is an Academic Program Professor at Pannasastra University in Cambodia where he wrote the course War, Media and International Relations.
Magnus Saemundsson, First Secretary at the Swedish Embassy in Phnom Penh, is a specialist in education development and the relation between education, creativity and development. He has a background as a teacher and artist and working in national Swedish, Nordic, European and international agencies on education. Senior Education Expert, Swedish National Agency for School Improvement with main focus on national education development and cooperation between education authorities in the Nordic countries. Curricula expert, Swedish National Agency for Education, basic and secondary-education curricula development. Senior Education Expert at the Swedish Ministry for Education, main focus on education development in the European Union, cooperation between national educational authorities in the EU.
Magnus Saemundsson is an ardent supporter of KWRF and modern Cambodian arts. He is also a huge fan of the CSP.
Maria Sargren is the Ambassador of Sweden to the Kingdom of Cambodia. She has a long experience of working as a civil servant in the Swedish Foreign Service, including Minister Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union (EU) Brussels; Head of Development Policy Expert, Policy and Coherence Unit, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission, Brussels Deputy-Director, Department for EU Affairs/European Correspondent’s Office, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Stockholm Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU, Brussels; EU Institutional Affairs Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU; Eastern Europe and Central Asia Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU; Development Policy First Secretary, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the International Organizations, Geneva; Trade and Development Second Secretary, Swedish Embassy, Harare, Zimbabwe Second Secretary, Swedish Permanent Representation to the United Nations, New York; Economic and Social affairs Head of Section, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for Development Cooperation, Unit for Multilateral Affairs
Mark Bibby Jackson is the award-winning author of the novel To Cook A Spider and the short story collection Always and A Slow Death. He is the publisher and founder of the lifestyle and travel magazine AsiaLIFE Cambodia, and the editorial director of ASEAN Forum magazine and Horizon Magazine in Thailand. Mark features in Forbes, TNT, the Phnom Penh Post, the Myanmar Times and QUO as a freelance writer and reviewer. He moved to Cambodia in 2006, but now flits from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and Essex – and many points in between. His new novel, Peppered Justice, which is set in Kampot, will be released at the Kampot Writers and Readers Festival 2016.
The Mekong Review, a quarterly literary magazine with locations across Southeast Asia, launched at the 2015 Kampot Writers and Readers Festival last year. KWRF is happy to welcome them back after their successful start for their 1-year anniversary!
The Mekong Review publishes reviews, features, prose, and poetry regarding the six countries through which the Mekong River flows. It attempts to differentiate itself from the other English-language publications circulating by focusing on literature and quality writing, rather than current affairs. Published quarterly, the magazine takes a little more time to produce and strives to bring interesting stories while focusing a multitude of topics in one edition.
The Messenger Band is a Cambodian women-powered music project made up of ex-garment workers.
As a grassroots advocacy group, their mission is to compose and perform original songs that reflect the current problems and situation facing the working class and impoverished people of Cambodia.
There’s a passage in The Stranger that surpasses all others in both simplicity and complexity. Meursault says of his meeting with the magistrate: “On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but just in time, I remembered that I had killed a man.” The soiled hand is of course such a classic image; to say “this person has blood on his hands” is surely one of the most powerful metaphors in any language. And yet, perhaps this line also best encapsulates the most challenging of all themes in The Stranger: the sensing of meaning where none should be found. Why is it that Meursault the murderer cannot shake hands? Does Meursault’s relationship with his guilt become clearer by the end, or only more confused? Could we imagine, of all things, that Meursault is not even guilty at all? Mr. Wolfe will offer a guided tour of these questions, noting crucial parallels with the work of Plato, Shakespeare, and Kafka. Please join him for an exploration that will sure to be of great interest for admirers of one of the twentieth century’s greatest novels.
Miguel Lopes Jeronimo Portugal
“I am someone who believes more in becoming than in being, voraciously open to new experiences and change, drinking both from a wandering imagination and the raw juices of real life as it is, the world and the inner me, everything and nothing, silence and noise, the unparallel rain of atoms in the void. A human-in-flux, currently engaged in documentary photography, poetry and writing, travelling and philosophy, intermedia art and upcycling.
Social entrepreneur and human-centered design geek. Poetic naturalist and follower of existentialism and humanism, wabi-sabi and zen. Believer of authenticity and radical freedom and equality for all. Ex-engineer and fluffy robots creator, now interested in voluntary simplicity, mindfulness and contagious elephants. Compulsive learner and ideator, lover of synesthesia and metaphors, chilli and coffee, dada and the revolt of void-becoming.”
Morganics is an award winning Hip Hop artist, spoken word performer and director as well as a passionate community worker. As an MC, beatboxer, Bboy, producer, and Hip Hop Theatre artist he has performed from New York to London, the Sydney Opera House to Prague.
He has worked extensively with indigenous communities throughout Australia, in juvenile and adult jails, with disabled and refugee groups and produced an album for ex street kids in Tanzania. His Hip Hop feature film “Survival Tactics” and new album “For My Friends And My Enemies” are out now with his book, Hip Hop Is My Passport, coming soon.
Nathan Thompson is a journalist and poet who been in Cambodia nearly four years.
Nathan’s career started in 1999, at age 14, with a column called “School’s Out” for his local paper, The Bucks Free Press. He discovered underground hip-hop and released an EP called Antiskeptic. He graduated university 2007 and progressed from hip-hop to the UK spoken word scene. Nathan reached the finals in the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Bang Said The Gun, and other lyrical competitions. He began teaching spoken word in 2011 before moving to a small village in Takeo, Cambodia in 2013.
Nathan taught English for 14 months and then began freelancing for the local press, catching a break when covering the turbulent 2013 elections for VICE News. Since then he’s written on major events in Cambodia and Southeast Asia for VICE, The Telegraph, The Guardian, CNN, Aljazeera and dozens more. This year, he released his first poetry collection, I Take Nothing Strong, Only Lightning, a collection of his best poems from the last ten years covering his struggle with addiction, depression, and meditations on the spiritual. He is currently the Vice President of the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia and is writing essays and a memoir.
Natulka Wade lives in Tasmania, Australia. She is currently completing a Diploma of Screen and Media, with a focus on production management. She has embraced wonderful opportunities in the local film industry with a passion for filmmaking, documentary and storytelling. She worked on short films, a commercial, and was lucky enough to be involved in filming for The 2016 Tamar Valley Writers Festival. Natulka felt honored to be invited to the Kampot Writer & Readers Festival, where she will work with local media artists to document KWRF 2016.
The ever-popular Nerd Night in Phnom Penh travels to Kampot with the effective format of staging local talent and ideas. Each presentation is short and sweet: 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Topics are non-themed, but always interesting.
You might know some of the presenters, but chances are you have never seen this side of them before. Nerd Night is a chance for you to get a quick glimpse into the life, work and interests of the people swinging between the Phnom Penh and Kampot communities.
Nol Dara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Khmer Literature. He became a faculty member in the Social and Human Sciences department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1999. In 2000, he received teaching certificate for upper secondary school and began work as a general secretary for the Sowers Association in 2005. In 2007, he worked for the Nou Hach Literature Association as an editor and a member of the poem review committee.
Since 2013, Nol Dara has worked in an extraordinary chamber in the Court of Cambodian as a transcriber. He joined the Women Media Center as a newsroom supervisor in 2015 and continues to work with them to this day. He also is a consultant to the Court Management Section as an English-Khmer reviser.
The Nou Hach Literary Project was initiated in 2002. Its objective involves supporting the development of modern Cambodian literature, which has yet to recover from the excesses of the Khmer Rouge era. They publish a literary journal annually and hold a writers conference with speakers and literary awards to honor and support modern writers in Cambodia. The underlying goal of this effort is to foster greater literacy and to develop intellectual infrastructure in civil society.
The Association sponsors creative writing workshops at schools of pedagogy in the outlying provinces and disseminates the Nou Hach Literary Journal to high school teachers in order to fulfill these two objectives. They maintain an apolitical, inclusive policy as advocates for the freedom of literary expression.
OnePlus Media is a cooperative venture by a group of young Khmer. We share a passion and a talent for the world of visual media. We have pooled our resources and abilities to build and run OnePlus Media, a media company, which we intend to make into one of the best in the country. We were not born into the world of business. Most of us were born into poor families and our early childhoods were hard. Some of us were even scavengers on the terrible rubbish dump at Steung Meanchey in Phnom Penh. We all became residents in an organization, an international charity. When some outside benefactors found the money for us to study a basic filmmaking course, our lives took on new meaning and we saw new places for ourselves in the world. In that course we found new abilities in ourselves, and in each other. We found new freedoms to be creative and to make good, effective media. Since then we have made light comedies and serious documentaries, we have entered competitions and won awards. We have covered news stories in Cambodia and made ‘thank you’ pieces for donors to charity. We are flexible, positive and ready to take on any media challenge.
And we are not only filmmakers. Our group contains one of our old teachers, a Khmer dramatist and media professional who loves the excitement of any new challenge. Business people help to make sure that our creative work is built on good commercial principles and practice. We also have input and support from a UK national who lives in Cambodia and who also has a media background. The breadth and depth of our group is our strength. We are all different people with different outlookon many things. But we are united in our belief that OnePlus Media will be the best it can be. It is our passion. And we want that passion to serve you in all your media needs. We want you to be as happy as we are!
PEN International stands for Poets, Essayists and Novelists, but now the group defends more than just the original three, including historians and journalists. PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression. Founded in London in 1921, the global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. PEN International is a non-political organization and holds Special Consultative Status with the UN and Associate Status with UNESCO.
Heng Sreang, a Dutch-educated lecturer at Paññāsāstra University, started PEN Cambodia five years ago. He’s continued as a lecturer and joined the director’s board for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. PEN Cambodia supports more than 100 Cambodian writers.
“Our writers have been influenced, yes, by traditional writing here, in Cambodia. We have our own models for poems, and our cultural ideas. But a lot of young writers who have received training over the years have started to write something new. They have stopped writing descriptions, like descriptions of old legends, and have started to write action-based novels. They are modern writers – writing creatively and thinking creatively. I hope the old writers and the new writers, the combination that PEN supports, will bring a cultural change here for the better.”
PHATRY DEREK PAN (PDP) Cambodian
Pan has over 10 years of experience in community development and digital media. From 1998 through 2003, he was an active student leader at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he organized dozens of high profile cultural events, founded an arts organization, and served as board member with various community organizations. In August 2005, Pan embarked on a three-year adventure in Cambodia –writing for the Phnom Penh Post and handling multimillion dollar projects for real estate developer, Oceana International. A recipient of the Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship in June 2008, Pan returned to the states that fall to earn a post-graduate certificate in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program of the esteemed East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Upon completion, Pan relocated to New York City where he founded Khmerican, Inc., the leading authority for news and content on the Cambodian diaspora. Pan is currently based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he continues to overseer Khmerican, and working towards authoring his first book: Khmerican: Khmer America Forward.
Phina So is a researcher, writer, a member of the Khmer literature collective, Slap Paka, and the head of the Women Writers Committee at PEN Cambodia. She is currently self-publishing a second anthology of short stories with a group of authors.
KWRF 2016 is proud to present the classic rebel role model Pipi Longstocking in Cambodia as a book translated into Khmer.
Honored guest speaker and Swedish Ambassador, Ms. Maria Sargren, joins this exciting children’s literature event “Pippi Longstocking in Cambodia” to discuss how the book is received and how the main character Pipi Longstocking contributes to “breaking” conventional ideas about how children (especially girls) should behave. Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren, first wrote and published Pippi Longstocking in 1945.
KWRF EVENT: Co-hosted by Ms Maria Sargren, Ambassador of Sweden to Cambodia, and Ms Socheata Huot, Publishing Program Manager, Sipar Cambodia. Sat 5th November.
Phousa managed to escape the stereotypical ‘middle child syndrome’ by picking up the guitar at ten years old and has been performing ever since. This Oxfordshire, UK based singer-songwriter puts her daydreams into song and carries her audiences on a nostalgic journey with her tales of life and relationships along with a bit of toe-tapping for good measure.
Polly Szantor lived in Malaysia for 13 years and, after retiring in 2009, she gained the freedom to focus on her passions – writing, acting, and drawing. She’s written plays, newspaper columns, and magazine articles. She also wrote the scripts for her children’s show, Miss Polly’s Playtime, aired on cable TV in Canada. Her short story, Ladies of the Longhouse, was published in the anthology, Sini Sana: Travels in Malaysia. She has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia, and her travel stories have been published in The Expat Magazine and Senses of Malaysia.
Most recently, Polly turned to fiction. Her stories are written from the perspective of Mary, a bearded lady who shares humorous, frequently poignant tales of characters at Colonel Winterville’s Imaginarium, a freak show and fun fair in the North of England. She’s also working on a collection of children’s poetry. Polly now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she performed in The Vagina Monologues last year. She is a Certified Laughter Yoga Instructor and has had the pleasure of bringing the joy of laughter to many, including indigenous children and cancer survivors.
Portland Jones, Ph.D. has never been able to decide if she is a writer or a horse trainer – so she is both. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature and creative writing. In 2016, she published her first novel, Seeing the Elephant. It was shortlisted for the TAG Hungerford Award. Seeing the Elephant has been very well reviewed and was recently both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Newspaper book of the week. Portland also works as an editor and copywriter, along with her many publications. She taught creative writing at the university level and recently started performing excerpts of her work accompanied by classical guitarist, William Yeoman.
Portland also runs a horse training facility in Western Australia’s Swan Valley with her partner. Together they train horses and riders, working in particular with youn and problem horses. They run clinics, camps, and lectures as well. Portland lectures in equine behaviour at Murdoch University and blogs about the science of horse training at www.sustainableequitation.com.au
Portland has three children. She is currently working on a horse-training book for young riders and has just started writing her second novel.
POLARIXCREW is a dance group that represents Cambodia in SEACON STREET CHALLENGE INT’L CHALLENGE SEASON 10, in Thailand. They are consists of 9 members age ranged from 18 – 24 years old. Aiming to achieve a new milestone for Cambodian Arts Industry and bring Cambodia’s music and dance into the international spotlight, POLARIXCREW train themselves 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. Watch out for POLARIXCREW’s performance on the Sunday November 6th, 2016 on the Kompot Writers & Readers Festival.
Richard Webb is a writer, journalist, songwriter and musician often found in Melbourne, Australia and delighted to be heading to the Kampot Writers & Readers Festival 2016. Over the past 25 years, he wrote for national newspapers and magazines in Australia and Europe on a wide range of topics from business, politics, music, fine art and photography, to booze. In the corporate world, he dallied in areas from advertising campaigns, internal restructures, to online media. He is frequently sought after as a speechwriter for CEOs and business leaders and, until recently, managed all corporate communications for one of Australia’s top-20 listed companies.
continues to write songs for his own bands and other artists, has composed for corporates and advertising, and is published globally through Warner/Chappell Music. He comes to the festival fresh from a short German tour with the inventively named Rich Webb Band. He brings a wealth of writing experience in many diverse fields and it’s our pleasure to welcome him to this year’s festival.
Robert Flinn holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Wichita State University, in Wichita, Kansas, USA. He is currently a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Languages at Zaman University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There he teaches various English courses, as well as Business and Professional Communications.
Robert Flinn also directs the university writing center. His poems travel across a wide spectrum of social commentary and popular culture and often speak to injustice and the under-represented.
His previous poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including: The Asian Signature Literary Review, Atom Mind, Microkosmos, and The Beacon, as well as on the debut CD of touring band, ULU.
Rockin’ the Pot – Singer Songwriters & Live Acts at KWRF 2016:
Kat Weiner, Ant & John, Woody Dares, Harvard, Brooke Palmer, Clay George, Andy Trowers. JM Poulson, Sony Batbanger, Avit, Ah So, Conrad Keely, Lue Thy, The Kosmic Kows, Morganics, Katie Whyte, Scoddy Bywater, Rich Webb, Kampot Playboys, Khmer Magic Music Bus, Batbangers, Woody Dares, Kampot Traditional Music School, KAMA KAZIS, The Messenger Band, Arn Chorn Pond, Seyma Thon, Ky Kalyan, Sangvar Day
Poet and singer-songwriter Scott Bywater learned to read and write in Hobart, Tasmania, and has been living for the past eight years in Cambodia and France. He originally arrived in Phnom Penh a little over eight years ago, to work as a transcriber for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), better known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but has stayed to enjoy and contribute to the rich cultural life of the city.
In recent years, Scott printed six volumes of poetry, been a founding member of several Phnom Penh bands (including the Cambodian Space Project, Moi Tiet, and the Riverside Raybans), and became known for wearing a hat. He writes extensively on the city he loves, including songs such as: “It’s Not the Mississippi, it’s the Mekong,” “Flying into Pochentong,” “Phnom Penh Driving School,” “On the Boulevard,” and, “Many Ways to Love a City”. Oh, and “Kampot”.
Scott joined the WASH collaboration in 2013, a Phnom Penh performance and recording project that synthesizes poetry, electronic music and visual art. The Kampot Writers and Readers Festival will include the launch of his latest volume of poetry. He is pushing 50.
Sharon May co-edited In the Shadow of Angkor: Contemporary Writing from Cambodia (Manoa: An International Journal/University of Hawai‘i Press; Silkworm Books) and edited a special issue of Cambodian literature in translation for Words without Borders (www.wordswithoutborders.org). Her stories, interviews and photographs have appeared in Best New American Voices, the Chicago Tribune, the Bangkok Post, Tin House, Mānoa, StoryQuarterly, Kyoto Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Other Voices, Seeking Shelter: Cambodians in Thailand, Concert of Voices: An Anthology of World Writing, A Stranger Among Us: Tales of Cross-Cultural Collisions and Connections, and elsewhere.
Sharon is the recipient of the Robie Macauley Award in Fiction, the Julia Peterkin Award in Fiction, and the Reynolds Price International Literary Award. She has conducted research for Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
“Not just a fine crime writer, but a fine writer full-stop.”
– Malcolm Knox, Sydney Morning Herald
“Just the right mix of politics, crime and slime.”
– Hobart Mercury
“Funny and gripping.”
– Rolling Stone
Shane Maloney is the recipient of the Australian Crime Writers’ Association Lifetime Achievement Award as well as winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction. In addition to crime, his work includes ‘Encounters,’ a series of historical oddities and events, which appeared in The Monthly magazine for ten years. They were published in book form by Black Inc. and screened as animated shorts on ABC television.
Shane is the creator of the popular Australian crime novel series – the Murray Whelan novels: Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask, Something Fishy, and Sucked In. In 2009, he was presented with the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently Writer in Residence at the Scrapings Foundation. The Brush-Off won the Ned Kelly Prize for Crime Fiction in 1996. Nice Try was a nominee for the Age Book of the Year in 2000. In 2004, Stiff and The Brush-Off were adapted for the screen by John Clarke and made into well-received movies with David Wenham in the role of Murray Whelan. In addition to his novels, Shane writes columns, travel stories, articles and book reviews for various newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.
Slap Paka means “a pen”.
Long ago, in ancient Cambodia, only the noble Khmer had pens. The vision of this group is to support Khmer writers, to dispel negative cultural norms and gender biases, and to enable Khmer writers to grow and create more beautiful medians of expression and works.
Slap Paka was formed following an underrepresentation of Cambodian writers at the 2015 Kampot Readers and Writers Festival. During a Khmer writers’ panel discussion at the Festival, a number of questions were put forward aiming to understand the underrepresentation of Khmer writers and the barriers to being accepted and published in Cambodia. The discussion identified a strong cultural disapproval of being a writer and a lack of platforms for showcasing work, so the group formed to combat this obstacles.
Slap Paka Khmer is led by two Khmer writers, Yeng Chheangly and So Phina, both are cultural leaders and innovators in Cambodia. The group is further supported by two Western writers, Claire Marchant-Collier and Christine Odell.
SO Sokuntheary is an architect and National Heritage Specialist with expertise in cultural/architectural heritage conservation on stone and brick structure of Angkor Monuments. She got her Master and doctorate in Architectural History of Southeast Asia at Waseda University of Japan between 2002 and 2008. She then became Executive Director of Sambor Prei Kuk Conservation Project, which focused on conservation and restoration of brick towers from the 7th century and involved a training course with local, young Cambodians to encourage future experts. Sokuntheary helped coordinate the tourism development at Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in order to promote poverty reduction for the local communities living around the site with GIZ in 2004.
Sokuntheary is core member of those preparing the nomination dossier of Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site for the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. She also teaches at Norton University, and has served as the Honorary Head of Department of Architecture and Urbanism of Norton University, Phnom Penh since 2013. All her efforts work towards conserving modern heritage and encouraging the preservation of the ancient buildings to promote tourism in local communities.
Soon grew up in Kampot. From a young age, she worked to support and help feed her family, doing jobs like cleaning fishing boats and odd jobs and cooking for her family, as her mum was often away working in other provinces. Later she had Chinese language schooling in Phnom Penh. Then she was sent to Malaysia, where she worked as a mad for 8 years, not uncommon work for young women from Kampot. Luckily, she worked for a great employer, who allowed her to take classes in baking and cooking. She was also able to improve her language skills in Chinese, Malaysian, English and Khmer during this time.
On her return, she was able to open a restaurant in the Cardomoms –Bom, but after the birth of her daughter, she returned to Kampot to work at Ganesha and later managed and baked at Elie’s Café. She joined Julien and Billy McCartney after they opened a bar in the ground floor area at KAMA and cooked Sino-Khmer meals in the evenings. Billy took great photos of Soon’s dishes –
“which to me are typically Kampot cuisine, the kind of meals I love to cook for my family.”
Billy took great photos of Soon’s dishes & Julien urged her to produce a cookbook, so she added her own stories to the food pictures and the recepies,. but So soon it grew to becom more about her growing up in Kampot and about the food, history and culture.
About this time Julien and Wayne discussed founding the Kampot Writers & Readers Festival and that would also be a platform to release the book.
Soon joined the organising team and become busy learning how to stage and manage the festival. She worked with sponsor Janet De Neefe (UWRF, writer, cook) to cater a banquet for KWRF. This work caught the attention of Lara Dunston of Grandtourismo, who invited her to join a gourmet food tour of hotels and restaurants in Siem Reap and Battambang. Lara is a travel writer and she taught Soon more about ‘story telling’ and ‘food photography’. This opportunity has led to her opening of a new cafe Kek Soon’s Kitchen @ KAMA and Kek Soon’s Kampot Cuisine Tours. Soon is making a video about touring and tasting the flavours of Kampot and is working on the cook book Kek Soon’s Kampot Kitchen between being very busy working on the festival and cooking at KAMA.
Somboro is a tribal elder of Cambodia’s indigenous Bunong tribal people, the “Elephant People” of the mountainous Mondulkiri region.
Stan Kahn earned a degree in Urban Studies from City College New York and then did an 180 and spent five years living in a commune in the mountains of southwest Oregon. After that, he spent 13 years working and managing a community, recycling program in Portland. He then did extensive traveling, lived in Thailand and China, and wound up in Phnom Penh in 2001 where he taught English for six years. As soon as circumstances permitted he came to Kampot in 2007 when the town was ‘nowhere’ and plans to stay for the duration.
Stan is the author of A Hitchhiker’s Tao, Thumbing Your Way to Enlightenment, an exposition of mysticism and spirituality based on his extensive experience thumbing around America. He did 60-70,000 miles between 1968 and 1980. He also wrote Y3K, A Novel of Ecotopia Y3K is a look back from the future to the world’s looming social/ecological disaster – Entropy Gaia, the breakdown of all world systems – through the eyes of latter day environmental activists. It describes a world brought to its knees by indifference to the planet’s health and welfare, and the new ecotopian world that develops out of its ashes.
The STEM Bus, a collaborative project between the STEM Cambodia NGO and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is made possible through support by the British Embassy Phnom Penh. The mission of the STEM Bus is to bring the excitement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the youth of Cambodia. The STEM Bus will travel across the nation, visiting Cambodia’s provincial secondary schools, and will start this journey in Kampot. Come get a sneak peek at the STEM Bus before it hits the road at the Kampot Writer’s Festival with opening remarks by Lord David Puttnam. Follow the STEM Bus on Facebook @STEMBusKH and join us on our journey across Cambodia!
Steve Warne is currently: teaching video making and world cinema at Victoria University, in Melbourne; working on Australia’s campaign to increase multicultural screen diversity; engaged in the making of an indie feature documentary that tracks a refugee family’s journey from Afghanistan to Australia, via Iran and Malaysia and is a Mentor/Director with start-up company, Filmmaker Abroad (www.facebook.com/filmmakerabroad). He’s run workshops for new documentary makers in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia and is an active participant in DocNet South East Asia.
Steve’s fallen in love with Cambodia after many trips, being a veteran supporter of the Cambodian Space Project, not to mention, KAMA! He’s looking forward to working more closely with K-Next – the next generation of Khmer media makers, and why not out of Kampot!
Steve has facilitated several multicultural community-based video projects involving emerging filmmakers. For example, Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Destination Shepparton, mentoring the short documentary, Sikh’s in Shep.
For over 30 years he’s worked in multiple media, in most capacities – mainly in documentary, news and current affairs. Steve’s been Documentary Manager, at Film Victoria, in Melbourne, for 16 years (1996-2012), where he brokered numerous creative and financial collaborations and represented Film Victoria at major international markets. Prior to this, Steve was Director of Production at Time Warner Interactive, in Paris, and a Writer/ Researcher/Producer/Director with Australia’s ABC TV 4 Corners and SBS TV’s Dateline. He’s written award-winning arts documentaries for local and international television, worked in radio as a Producer/Presenter (3RRR-FM and ABC Radio National), published articles on the media and has an MA in media policy.
About SUP Asia
In 2010 a group of adventurers from Colorado, USA travelled by paddleboard from the border of Laos and Cambodia to Phnom Penh. The journey aimed to help raise awareness about dams proposed along the Mekong and the local and global consequences of damming. The group spent a month on the Mekong and from that adventure SUP Asia was formed. Stand up paddleboarding, SUP, is among the fastest growing water sports in the world. SUP Asia tours in Cambodia provide up close and personal adventures on the country’s many waterways and sea paddling with the Irrawaddy Dolphins on the Mekong, through mangrove forests to pagodas, out to islands or through floating villages.
SUP Asia is based near the charming riverside town of Kampot. Our island location on the Kampot River offers SUP access to fishing villages, pagodas, mangroves, and more. We teach SUP lessons, SUP yoga, and SUP fitness. We also have SUPS and kayaks for hire. We offer team building and retreat opportunities as well.
Our eco-adventures aim to offer visitors to Cambodia an authentic cultural experience with low impact on the environment while supporting local economy. A portion of our proceeds go to providing environmental education and recreational therapy to Cambodian youth through paddleboarding.
SUP Asia founder and owner Anne Pizey is a writer, gardener, and river guide. Her work and her love of rivers brings her to opposite sides of the planet. She shares her home between Colorado, U.S.A. and Cambodia. Anne has worked as a freelance journalist, a radio reporter, and an English teacher. She is currently the director and founder of Stand Up for Rivers, a non-profit based in Colorado that focuses on river protection. Through her love of sports and her passion for rivers, she aims to offer empowerment and environmental education to Cambodians and people from all over the globe. When Anne is not paddling rivers she enjoys gardening and writing.
For more information visit the website www.supasia.org.
Susan Kennedy is a writer and an International Heritage and Tourism Specialist with expertise in cultural/archaeological heritage management, ecotourism, marketing and branding. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a Master of Arts in Managing Archaeological Sites from University College London, and a Master of Tourism Administration in Sustainable Destination Management from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Kennedy lived in Cambodia from 2007-2010 and has recently returned to work for the Ministry of Tourism as an International Heritage Specialist on an Asian Development Bank project in Kampot.
In 2008, Susan was the Project Director behind the production of Cambodia’s first-ever branding campaign, “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” as a consultant for GIZ. She also produced two versions of the “Stay Another Day Cambodia” tourist booklets, which encouraged tourists to stay longer in the country, explore more of what Cambodia has to offer, and patronize businesses and NGOs that support community, culture, and the environment. Susan plants to create a Heritage Awareness Campaign for Kampot. During the festival, she hopes to uncover stories about interesting local people and places in Kampot that would be used as the basis for cultural heritage and architectural tours around the city.
Her professional website can be found at: www.susankennedy.org
Suzanne Rumney grew up feral on an island at the end of the world – Tasmania. She developed a great love for wild places, but found the confines of island life to be limiting. She instead lived much of her life overseas or interstate on the mainland of Australia. She has variously worked as an educator, consultant, project manager and railway canteen worker in the UK, Japan, Bahrain, USA, Philippines, Borneo, East Timor, Qatar, Arnhem Land and Uganda. Fatally attracted to the cultures, wild life and places belonging to other people, she gained a Master of International Management to help her continue her addiction. More recently, a PhD in Creative Writing focusing on cultural relativism and the human rights of women has provided her with the impetus to jump off the cliff.
In 2015, Suzanne walked out of her impossible job as a project manager, sold her house in Tasmania and moved to Kampot to write a novel that swings between colonial and present day Tasmania. She gave birth to a one-kilo manuscript one month ago and is in the process of trying to get it published. Two literary essays, “Machete Latte” and “Girl on the Ditch” have been published in Island magazine, and her fictionalized memoir “Swimming Without Water” was shortlisted with Random House on the Varuna Publishing Fellowship Program.
Dr. Sylvain Vogel presents a discourse on the Bunoong culture and its conservation in his book Mondulkiri: Voice of the Past, published by UNESCO. He teaches General Lingustics and Sanskrit at Besançon University in France. His love of languages led to a lifelong dedication to the conservation of languages and championing for the preservation of cultural minorities.
After encountering the Bunoong of Mondulkiri, Dr. Vogel took it upon himself to describe their language and create a collection of their oral literature. If the Bunoong language and culture disappear, which is sadly not an improbability, this anthology of oral literature would remain a precious testimony of the wealth of their traditions and, by extension, of the extraordinary cultural diversity of Cambodia. Recently, he’s been exploring modern Khmer and its description.
Tharum Bun is a communications specialist and one of the first bloggers in Cambodia. His love for writing, story-telling and photography combined with a passion for tech have made him an online personality in Cambodia for nearly a decade, most recently on his blog Musings From Cambodia,
Thavry Thon received her bachelor degree from the University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic with a major in Information Management. She was born and raised in a very simple farming family on a remote small island on the Bassac River in Cambodia. Her family always supported her and valued education. They encouraged her to pursue higher education, and she was given freedom to do what she loves to do. Her parents always told her that ‘education’ is the key to success and will reduce poverty in Cambodia.
Thavry is currently managing director at Toursanak Adventures tour agency. She is also an author, travel blogger, translator, and trip leader. Since childhood, she dreamed of becoming a writer and traveling the world. She published two children’s books in 2010 and 2011 with the help of the Room to Read organization, and an inspirational book with a Taiwanese company in 2013. She plans to release her latest book called A Proper Woman in early of 2017. She has always enjoyed traveling within her own country and internationally.
Theresa de Langis is an independent researcher and senior consultant focused on women’s human rights in conflict, post-conflict, and transitioning settings, with special emphasis on Asia. She worked for more than two years in Afghanistan with the UN before coming to Cambodia. There she supported women working as human rights defenders advocating for the inclusion of women in peace and governance decisions.
Since 2012, Theresa has been based in Cambodia, focusing her independent research on sexual and gender-based violence as part of the general atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. In 2013, she launched the Cambodian Women’s Oral History Project to collect life stories and testimonies of women survivors for the historical record.
Thon Seyma is a Kampot native, born and raised in this small city by the river. She is a singer, songwriter, and the head of the Khmer Magic Music Bus project.
The idea for the Khmer Magic Music Bus project started when Steve Riege and Arn Chorn Pond watched Master Ta Hai play his gann on an isolated dirt road in Oddar Mencheay Province in July 2012. The villagers who came out to listen were hearing a live performance of their own traditional music for the first time, and were transfixed by the event. The Bus project was born out of a desire to recreate this experience throughout Cambodia.
Thon Seyma and Young Yorn joined in after a third partner, Tom Gromak from the United States, helped raise money to purchase a bus through global crowdfunding. Both Cambodian musicians, Thon Seyma and Young Yorn helped locate the right bus and immediately began creating buzz and a tour itinerary within Cambodia. The first trip took place in July 2013 and Thon Seyma still works to provide access to traditional Cambodian music for all Cambodians.
England, originally – Australia, currently
Tim Page gained worldwide recognition as a photographer during the 1960s. The veteran war photographer captured memorable images from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before the age of 25, and even covered the Six-Day War in the Middle East during the same time period. He suffered several injuries while photographing in these dangerous zones, mostly shrapnel wounds, including a large piece that required extensive neurosurgery to remove.
Many other journalists and writers have portrayed Page’s personality and lifestyle in Vietnam. He does not shy away from the drug culture he witnessed during the 1960s and devoted a significant portion of his book, Page after Page, to his experiences. In Dispatches, Michael Herr referred to Page as the most ‘extravagant’ of the ‘wigged-out crazies running around Vietnam’, perhaps due to his liberality in consuming mind-altering substances. Page’s unusual character helped inspire the journalist Dennis Hopper plays in Apocalypse Now.
Todd Brendan Fahey is a novelist and short story writer, whose works include Wisdom’s Maw, a “factionalization” of the CIA’s notorious psychedelic mind control experiment Project MK-Ultra, and their influence on the Sixties counterculture, Dogshit Park & other atrocities, a collection of eight short/long stories, several “killed” magazine articles of Fahey’s pen by major magazines and interviews with Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary and “an evening with Hunter S. Thompson.” Fahey has written for VICE/Motherboard, Mondo 2000, High Times and other counterculture institutions of today and yesterday. His newest Gonzo autobiography, Hell Bottled Up: Chronicles of a Late Propaganda Minister, was published by Far Gone Books in March 2016. He received a Master’s in writing from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in American Literature/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Fahey is currently at work on pre-production facets for a movie adaptation of his novel, Wisdom’s Maw.
Tom Fawthrop is a London-born, independent journalist and filmmaker who has been reporting on major conflicts in South East Asia since 1979. He spent time reporting in Bangkok, Manila, Phnom Penh, Dili, Cuba, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Kenya, and South Africa, and currently bases out of Chiang Mai. He regularly contributes to the Guardian, The Economist, and South China Morning Post.
Tom’s documentaries tackle many subject. Two recent documentaries include: Killing the Mekong – Dam by Dam from February 2013, which looks at the controversy over a huge dam-building programme on the Mekong, and Healing Africa – The Havana Prescription from September 2012. Other works include the co-authoring of Getting with Genocide? – Elusive Justice & the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and directing the UK Channel 4 film on Cambodia, 1989: Dreams and Nightmares.
The voice of Cambodian writer Khun Srun resonates not only in the country’s past, but also in its present. The life and work of a remarkable Cambodian teacher, poet and author is remembered in a documentary film, A Tomb for Khun Srun, screening at the 2016 Kampot Writers and Readers Festival. The screening is accompanied by a talk from the filmmaker, Eric Galmard, a teacher of literature and film who has worked in Cambodia and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region since 1990.
The film tells the story of Khun Srun, who worked as a high school mathematics teacher and was a member of the Ministry of Education’s textbook editorial committee at the end of the 1960s. After Cambodia descended into civil war, Khun Srun made the decision in 1973 to join revolutionary guerrillas of the Khmer Rouge fighting against the government of the day. Khun Srun’s story ended tragically when the Khmer Rouge government, now in power, executed him in 1978.
Tree Bernstein is a MFA graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She taught literature and writing for the last ten years at the Brooks Photography Institute in California, and created the curriculum for the school’s creative writing elective. A self-described “poet wrangler,” Bernstein was Ventura County area coordinator for California Poets in the Schools, and host of the Ojai Art Center’s Literary Branch, as well as other spoken word events, such as The Favorite Poem Project, which she will introduce at the Kampot Writer’s Festival.
Bernstein is author of On the Way Here, a collection of short stories published by Baksun Books, 1997, and Away, ghazals co-written with poet Randy Roark, published by Lacoon Press, 2005. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies, most recently in If Bees Are Few, published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
Currently, Tree serves as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, teaching English and art in Takeo Province. At the age of 64 she is the oldest PCV serving in Cambodia. Her blog Postcards From Cambodia—www.cambodiapc.me—features photo essays and observations, and was chosen as a finalist in the nationwide Peace Corps Blogging It Home competition this year.
“McCallum’s affectionate recounting of his volunteer year, based in the rainforest world of the Elephant Hills, is part memoir, part record of frontier Cambodia—from the vibrancy of village life, to the challenge of protecting the forests and creatures of this unique wilderness region.”
– Robert Carmichael, author of When Clouds Fell from the Sky
Wayne McCallum arrived in Cambodia in 2003. Since then, he has been pecked by Sarus cranes, had a camera destroyed by orangutans, and been punched by an angry elephant. A regular contributor to the Mekong Review, he is debuting his second book, A River and A Valley Far Away, this year at KWRF.
With the humour of Bill Bryson, the soul of George Orwell and the spirit of Indiana Jones, A River and A Valley Far Away is a tale of what befalls a volunteer, from small-town New Zealand, when he is assigned to a remote rainforest corner of Cambodia. Humorous, somber and insightful, the story provides a captivating account of a time and a world now fast disappearing.
William Bagley began selling books in 1984 for the prestigious London institution, Foyles.
In 2007, he moved to Cambodia to join Monument Books. His job entails personally selects each and every imported English-language title from the United States and the United Kingdom to the individual Phnom Penh stores.
William A. Heidt became the United States Ambassador to Cambodia in the fall of 2015. A career member of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Heidt formally served as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the Department of State. In this role, he helped shape U.S. global engagement on international economic, trade, energy, and environmental issues, including Secretarial initiatives on wildlife trafficking, ocean conservation, and economic diplomacy.
Ambassador Heidt’s international service has taken him to Jakarta, Indonesia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Poznan, Poland. He received the joint Department of State-Department of Labor “Excellence in Labor Diplomacy” award in 2000 for his outstanding work to support of workers’ rights and independent trade unions in Cambodia. Ambassador Heidt speaks English, German, Indonesian, Khmer, and Polish and lives in Phnom Penh with his wife and son.
William Longhurst began service as the British Ambassador to Cambodia in January 2014. He joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1990, and has worked in Seoul, Tokyo, New York, and Belgrade. Initially, he worked in London for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Economic Relations Department on policy issues addressed during the London G7 Summit of 1991.
Ambassador Longhurst also worked in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1998 to 2001, where led the Exports to Japan Unit. His most recent London posting, from 2011 to 2013, was as Deputy Head of ASEAN Department. Prior to joining Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, Ambassador Longhurst received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Sheffield after studying both Business and Japanese. He resides in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with his wife, Kathryn, and two of his four children.
Yeng Chheangly was born on October 9, 1988, in Kandal province. He received a BA in business and hospitality from the University of Human Resources in Phnom Penh. Currently he works in the customer service division at Mobitel. In 2013 he won an award for poetry in Nou Hach Literary Awards competition. Yeng is a prolific blogger and promotes Cambodian writers throughout the country and literacy through the Magic Library project. He has edited the first bilingual collection of modern poetry in Cambodia. “In the Shadow,” currently in press.