Vice President U Myint Swe attends national literary award ceremony

Vice President U Myint Swe delivers the speech at a ceremony to present Lifelong National Literary Award, National Literary Award and Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award. Photo: MNA
Vice President U Myint Swe delivers the speech at a ceremony to present Lifelong National Literary Award, National Literary Award and Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award. Photo: MNA

Vice President U Myint Swe delivered a speech at a ceremony to present Lifelong National Literary Award for 2017, National Literary Award and Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award held at the National Theatre of Yangon yesterday morning.
In his speech Vice President U Myint Swe said that Sarsodaw Day, a day to honor the literati, is held every year on the 1st Waxing of Nattaw and had reached the 75th year. This day is celebrated nationwide to honor the literati who wielded the pen throughout the ages to develop the country’s literature, religion, social, political and cultural knowledge. This is a unique cultural tradition that is a source of honor and pride for Myanmar. It gave him much pleasure to be given an opportunity to speak at such an auspicious time.
Myanmar literature that started from the Bagan era to the present moment had past more than 900 years and throughout this long period outstanding writers from the monastic sector as well as from among the common people had produced literature that are invaluable for the people and the country. All sorts of literature that were produced bring forth the development of knowledge and cultures for the people of Myanmar.
The main source of today’s literature, motion picture, music, dances, arts and culture in Myanmar is literature. That is why with an aim towards developing the Myanmar literature circle good and outstanding literature that depicted Myanmar’s traditions, practices and thoughts were selected and presented with national level literary awards every year on Sarsodaw Day.

National Literary Awards were presented in many forms for more than 70 years. Sarpay Beikman, established in August 1947 as the Myanmar Translation Society, had connected with the world and produced translations of world’s literatures for Myanmar literature development and Sarpay Beikman modern novel award was started in 1948.
In 1962 Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award was renamed as artistic literature award and presented to nine categories. In 1963 awards were selected from both printed books as well as yet-to-be printed manuscripts. The awards were then renamed as National Literary Award in 1965. In 1969, the system of selecting from books submitted for consideration was discontinued and selection of a best book among designated categories published for the first time during a calendar year was instead made to present National Literary Award. For manuscript award, it was renamed as Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award and had been presented under this name to date. The aim of presenting this award is to select outstanding manuscripts that were not published for any reason so that it can be published enabling good literature to come into existence.
The National Literary Award was presented to nine categories and was expanded year by year and this year, it is presented to a total of eighteen categories. Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award also had increased gradually from nine categories to thirteen categories this year.
In addition to this, to honor writers who had produced outstanding literature throughout their lives in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, starting from 2001, a national level recognition award of Lifelong National Literary Award had been presented yearly.
From 2001 to 2011, a single Lifelong National Literary Award was presented every year but starting from 2012, three were selected and presented with the award with an aim to develop Myanmar literature. This year, two persons will be presented with Lifelong National Literary Award. One produces outstanding and valuable literature while another did not publish many books but strives toward development of Myanmar literature all along.
Prize money for the awards was being increased yearly and selection process has been made systematically in a transparent way. The selection group was also formed with literature experts as well as experienced publishers. National Literature Award Selection Committee was formed with 65 members and Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award Selection Group was formed with 28 members. The selection was also seen to be made systematically in three stages, said the Vice President.
Of the 2,847 books published for the first time in 2017, 11 authors in 11 categories out of a total of 18 categories were selected for National Literature Award. For Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award, 25 manuscripts were selected from 316 manuscripts in 11 out of 13 categories. The awards will be presented in this ceremony.
This year is unique in a way with an addition of two categories for National Literature Award. The two categories are Essay and Reference. Essay award is aimed towards development of a literature category that had become popular prior to the modern literature era while Reference award is to promote the development of reference literature that are of use for researchers and writers.
Everyone knew that Myanmar was striving towards the aim of establishing a democratic federal union.

Vice President U Myint Swe and party pose for a documentary photo together with winners of Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award 2017 in Yangon yesterday.  Photo:MNA
Vice President U Myint Swe and party pose for a documentary photo together with winners of Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award 2017 in Yangon yesterday.  Photo:MNA

As such encouragement and support must be made for literature development, increase the number of people who read and have an interest in reading, conduct reading and discussion circles so that the people acquire the habit of resolving problems through dialogue, democratic practices and make sure that youths who will be the future leaders acquire knowledge and foresights.
During her literary fiction discussion with Yangon university students in August, the State Counsellor mentioned about establishing and supporting Soft Powers like arts in a developing country like Myanmar. That was why literature talk circles were being conducted in States and Regions while literary fiction discussions were conducted with higher education students, local youths who are literature enthusiasts and literature experts.
In the same way, under the guidance of the State Counsellor, the Ministry of Information has also conducted children literature festivals in States and Regions. The aim is for the youths who will be future leaders of the country to enjoy literature, gain knowledge and expertise.
Furthermore, Sarpay Beikman and Tun Foundation are also re-editing the 15 volumes of Myanmar Encyclopedia published in 1954. In addition to updating with modern facts and data, new subjects were also being included and would become a useful encyclopedia for the people.
Still going much further, classic literature works from the start of Myanmar literature 900 years ago to the year 2000 has been collected and will be published as 100 Myanmar Classic Book series starting with three volumes. As it will reflect Myanmar traditions, practices and thoughts, it will be welcomed not only by the people in Myanmar but also by international researchers.
As the day’s event was to honor outstanding writers who produced outstanding literatures for the country, we also share the happiness of the award winning writers.
The practice of honoring outstanding writers is becoming a proud Myanmar tradition. It is to maintain this proud tradition that these ceremonies were held every year with much emphasis.
While mentioning the deep appreciation to the literature experts, award winners, award selection committee and group chairmen and members who had put in all-out efforts toward the event, all are urged to continue and participate toward strengthening and development of Myanmar literature, said the Vice President.

As such encouragement and support must be made for literature development, increase the number of people who read and have an interest in reading, conduct reading and discussion circles so that the people acquire the habit of resolving problems through dialogue, democratic practices and make sure that youths who will be the future leaders acquire knowledge and foresights.
During her literary fiction discussion with Yangon university students in August, the State Counsellor mentioned about establishing and supporting Soft Powers like arts in a developing country like Myanmar. That was why literature talk circles were being conducted in States and Regions while literary fiction discussions were conducted with higher education students, local youths who are literature enthusiasts and literature experts.
In the same way, under the guidance of the State Counsellor, the Ministry of Information has also conducted children literature festivals in States and Regions. The aim is for the youths who will be future leaders of the country to enjoy literature, gain knowledge and expertise.
Furthermore, Sarpay Beikman and Tun Foundation are also re-editing the 15 volumes of Myanmar Encyclopedia published in 1954. In addition to updating with modern facts and data, new subjects were also being included and would become a useful encyclopedia for the people.
Still going much further, classic literature works from the start of Myanmar literature 900 years ago to the year 2000 has been collected and will be published as 100 Myanmar Classic Book series starting with three volumes. As it will reflect Myanmar traditions, practices and thoughts, it will be welcomed not only by the people in Myanmar but also by international researchers.
As the day’s event was to honor outstanding writers who produced outstanding literatures for the country, we also share the happiness of the award winning writers.
The practice of honoring outstanding writers is becoming a proud Myanmar tradition. It is to maintain this proud tradition that these ceremonies were held every year with much emphasis.
While mentioning the deep appreciation to the literature experts, award winners, award selection committee and group chairmen and members who had put in all-out efforts toward the event, all are urged to continue and participate toward strengthening and development of Myanmar literature, said the Vice President.
Next, Vice President U Myint Swe presented Lifelong National Literary Awards to Sayagyi U Myint Lwin (Pho Kyawt) and literature expert Sayagyi U Tun Yi (archaeological researcher).
Afterwards Union Ministers Dr. Pe Myint, Thura U Aung Ko and Dr. Myo Thein Gyi presented National Literature Awards to award winners while Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon Region Hluttaw Speaker U Tin Maung Tun, Deputy Minister U Aung Aung Hla Tun, Yangon Region Minister for Rakhine Ethnic Affairs U Zaw Aye Maung and Yangon City Development Committee member Daw Than Myint presented Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Awards to award winners.
On behalf of award winners Sayagyi U Tun Yi (history researcher) delivered a speech of appreciation.
Vice President U Myint Swe and party then took a commemorative group photo together with award winners.
Before the start of the ceremony, the Vice President and party inspected an exhibition where the photos of the award winners and award winning books were displayed.
The ceremony was attended by Yangon Region ministers, Hluttaw representatives, heads of departments, Myanmar Writers Association chairman and executive committee members, Selection Committee and Group members, award winners and their families, literature experts, literature enthusiasts and invited guests.
The earlier Lifelong National Literary Award winners were presented with K 600,000. In 2011 it was increased to K 1 million, increased further to K 1.5 million in 2012, 2.5 million in 2013 and K 5 million this year.
For National Literature Award, the earlier winners were presented with K 300,000 which was increased to K 500,000 in 2011. It was further increased to K 1 million in 2012, K 1.5 million in 2013 and K 2.5 million this year. For Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award, the earlier winners were presented with K 150,000, K 100,000 and K 50,000 for first, second and third place winners. It was increased in 2012 and 2013 and this year, it was increased further to K 1 million, K 700,000 and K 500,000 it is learnt.—MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)

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