President U Win Myint delivered a speech at a ceremony to award the Lifelong National Literary Award, National Literary Award and the Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award and presented awards to the winners.
Before the ceremony, the President greeted the winners for 2018 and members of the Literary Award Selection Committee.
Next, he visited the booth displaying photos of literary award winners from 2001 to 2018 and national literary award winning books from 2009 to 2018.
In his opening address, he expressed greetings to the Union Ministers, Chief Minister and ministers of the Yangon region government, Hluttaw representatives, Literary Award Selection Committee members, award winners, literary professionals, intelligentsia, literati, literary enthusiasts, literature lovers, and distinguished invited guests to be blessed with auspiciousness.
“We have been celebrating Sarsodaw Day in our motherland every year on the 1st Waxing Day of Nattaw for almost 75 years. Sarsodaw Day ceremonies have been held with great fanfare all over the country to honor, recognize and congratulate the great literary figures who have wielded the pen to participate in development of the country’s religion, social affairs, politics, literature and culture and various kinds of knowledge, all through the ages. At present, this tradition has established itself as a classic Myanmar cultural tradition. It is for this reason that I am very delighted to have this opportunity to address literature lovers, literary professionals, and literati as a person who respects and values all of you at this auspicious ceremony,” said President U Win Myint.
“If we look back at the history of Myanmar literature from the Bagan era to the present age, it has been almost a span of a thousand years. The Myanmar literary works produced during this long period now stand firmly with pride as Myanmar’s cultural heritage. In Myanmar’s literary history, we have had literary figures who were monks as well as lay people. These great literary figures have written literary works of great value for the citizens. Myanmar literature has progressed and developed continuously beginning from the Bagan, Pinya, Innwa, Taunggu, Nyaungyan, Konebaung and colonial periods up to the present age. All the literature that has emerged throughout the ages has been able to develop and raise the standard of Myanmar literature and culture,” he said.
“Thus it is the good tradition of the State to select as the state level National Literary Award, the great literary works that are capable of extolling and reflecting Myanmar culture, Myanmar customs, Myanmar thoughts and viewpoints; we do this with the aim of developing the Myanmar literary world which may be regarded as the main source of Myanmar culture and fine arts,” he added. “We have been awarding the National Literary Award in various forms for more than 70 years. The Sarpay Beikman which was established beginning from August 1947 produced and distributed translation works as the Myanmar Translation Society to assist in the promotion of knowledge among the people and to establish connections with the world. Not only that, it began awarding the Sapay Beikman modern novel award beginning from 1948. After that, it followed up by awarding Sar Padethar award and translation award. By 1958 the number of awards had reached 7,” said the President.
“In 1962, the “Sarpay Beikman Award” was renamed the “Artistic literature award” and presented in nine categories. In 1963, awards were selected from both printed books as well as from manuscripts that had not yet been published. In 1965, these awards were renamed and presented as “National Literary Award”. In 1969, the system of selecting from books submitted for consideration was discontinued and selection of the best book from among designated categories published for the first time during a calendar year was instead adopted to present the National Literary Award. As for manuscripts, it was renamed as the Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award and has been presented under this name as a competition up to the present. This award has been awarded with the aim of selecting outstanding manuscripts that had not been published for any reason, so that the good manuscripts of certain authors would come out as books,” said the president.
“The National Literary Award has been presented in nine categories and has been expanded year after year. This year it has increased to 18 categories. Also for the Sarpay Beikman Award, the number of categories has increased from 9 to 13 categories,” said President U Win Myint.
“Furthermore, as a way of according State recognition to writers who had produced outstanding literature throughout their lives in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, a national level award called Lifelong National Literary Award was presented starting from 2001,” said the President.
“From 2001 to 2012 the Lifelong National Literary Award has been presented yearly to one to three literary professionals. Last year, the award was presented to an author who had continuously written non-fiction as well as fine literature. The other person who received this award was an author who has continuously focused on development and research works. This year also, it gives me great pleasure to learn that the Lifelong National Literary Award will be presented to one great novelist and one great literary professional,” said President U Win Myint.
“We have been able to increase the amount of prize money year by year. In the selection of prizes also, in accordance with the changing times and political systems, we have worked systematically to ensure transparency and to make sure that only the best books and manuscripts were selected. In the selection of the literary award committee, directives were given so that only those who have wide knowledge were selected from all sectors of the literary world. The National Literary Award Selection Committee was formed with 54 literary professionals and the Sarpay Beikman Award Selection Committee was formed with 27 literary professionals. It is noted that in selecting the award recipients, the three-stage selection process consisted of a) preliminary stage b) short-list c) confirmed list,” he added.
“Out of the 2041 books published for the first time in 2018, out of the 18 categories selected for National Literary Award, 10 subjects were selected. Out of the 248 manuscripts submitted for the Sarpay Beikman Award, out of the 13 subjects selected, 24 manuscripts have been selected for presentation of awards. Prizes will be awarded at this ceremony,” said the President.
“The two great literary professionals who have been selected for the 2018 Lifelong National Literary Award have continuously worked hard for the development of the Myanmar literary world as well as to provide knowledge and educate our people by producing fine literary works,” he said.
“I feel very proud on their behalf. If we look at the authors who received the National Literary Awards and their works, it may be seen that they include books that reflect the thoughts and viewpoints of the present age. These works of non-fiction and fiction also include arts and technical knowledge really essential for our country’s development. I learnt this from the comments and recommendations made by the Awards selection group. In the same way, for the Sarpay Beikman Awards also, I have seen that there were experienced writers, new writers as well as writers who were in the middle in terms of experience. I have learnt from the comments and recommendations of the Awards selection group that the award winning manuscripts covered a wide variety of subjects and were of a high literary standard. I wish to extend these good wishes to all the award winning literary professionals and say that I am very honored and delighted for them. May you all be able to continue working many times more for the national interest and for the benefit of the people by using the power of the Pen,” said President U Win Myint.
“As we build the future democratic state, the role of capable and dynamic people, as well as the human resources of the future generations is very important. This is needed for the Union to progress and develop in all sectors, for internal peace and for the establishment of a Democratic Federal Union. We need people who are capable and dynamic; we also need to train youths who have the necessary skills and qualifications. At the same time we also need to educate and train them so that they will have the ability to think, wisdom to reflect deeply, compassion, and general knowledge. We need to see that their capacities and capabilities develop.
“The “nutrition” needed to develop our capability and effectiveness is none other than the gem of literature. Good and fine literature is more valuable than gems and jewels and they are the main source for wisdom, general knowledge and strategic vision. Also, this general knowledge is our strength for life. On our path of life, exerting strenuous efforts without having experience and general knowledge is like walking in the darkness. Reading is gathering experiences and learning life lessons. If we know how to collect these experiences and life lessons and apply them, these can serve as a roadmap for life. Reading gives you knowledge and practical implementation gives you skills and capabilities. By using knowledge and practical skills we may walk our life path without faltering. Living without reading deprives us of food for the brain. We lose sight of the world around us. As all of us begin to read good and fine literature, the value of Myanmar society will rise to a higher level,” said President U Win Myint.
“The memorable words sent by the State Counsellor to the recently held literary event were as follows:
Literature is connected to social affairs as well as to political affairs. In recording the events of various eras, not only historians and intellectuals but literary and fine arts professionals can also effectively depict the said events by using their ideas and literary skills,” said President U Win Myint.
“Today is the time when Myanmar’s transition process is endeavouring to create a mature and stable democratic political system. We need to guide and train our future youths to have knowledge and wisdom, and also to cherish and protect democracy by using the power of “literature”. The good and fine literature written and created by literary professionals and authors have the ability to improve the character, speech, actions, ideas and points of view of readers. Instilling correct ways of thinking and beliefs in the minds of readers helps them towards a correct transformational process. By having up-to-date regional and global perspectives it may be possible to cleanse ourselves of rusted spirits, outdated dogmatic beliefs, pessimistic thoughts and ruthless and violent behavior. As members of the literary world, all of you can make these transformations stronger by individual as well as collective efforts,” he said.
“Today’s ceremony has been organized and conducted to express the gratitude of the State for the literary works written and literary services rendered to the country by literary professionals based on their love for literature and added by their “cetena” for the country and the people. Therefore, we also feel delighted and share the happiness of the literary professionals,” said the President.
“Throughout history, we have congratulated and paid respects to great authors and authors from the sangha who have used the power of literature to bring glory to Myanmar and to promote Myanmar’s interests. This is a Myanmar tradition which we can all be proud of,” he added.
In his speech, President U Win Myint urged all literary professionals and all those who value literature and associations to keep the tradition alive.
He also expressed his hopes and sincere good wishes that literary professionals would abide by and preserve literary code of conduct and ethics; wishing all would be able to write and create good and fine literary works which are beneficial for the country and at the same time improve and elevate the image of Myanmar.
Before concluding, the President thanked all members of the government, Hluttaw representatives, literary professionals, award recipients; chairmen, members and consultants of the National Literary Awards selection committee and Sarpay Beikman Awards selection committee who have given time and energy to make this literary awards presentation ceremony a success, and literati.
He also requested the attendees to continue rendering their cooperation for the development of the literary world.
Afterwards, President U Win Myint presented the Life Long Literary Award for 2018 to doyen literati U Tin Maung Myint and U Tun Aung Chein.
Afterwards, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint presented national literary awards for 2018 to writers Jue and Myit Kyo Inn for novel and short story genres respectively, poet Ko Than Tun and writer Ma Than Than (Mann Takkatho).
Union Minister Thura U Aung Ko presented national literary awards for 2018 to Wai Yan Phone for translation genre, Mya Win (Philosophy) for Arts genre and Maung Kyay Yay (U Myint Thein) for applied science genre. Union Minister Dr Myo Thein Gyi presented literary awards to Aung Myint Oo (MA) for political literature genre, Kyaw Zwa Moe for English (Knowledge) genre and Min Chan Mon for essay genre.
Afterwards, Yangon Region Hluttaw Speaker U Tin Maung Tun presented Sarpay Beikman Manuscript awards for 2018 to K (Blue Mountain), Yun Myat Hmun Shan and Maung Nay Chin (Pyay) for first, second and third prize in novel genre respectively; first, second and third prizes for short story genre to Thuti Awbar (Hsinpaungwae), Nay Soe Thaw and Kyaikzakaw Khin Soe respectively. He also presented the first and second prizes for the collection of poems genre to Maung Han Tint (Pinlebu) and Khet Hlaing Kyaw respectively. Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun presented the third prize for the collection of poems genre to A Hta Wah Soe (Mandalay), second and third prizes for knowledge (Art) genre to May Myanmar and Maung Khun Nwe (Inle), third prize for the knowledge (science) to Maung Aung (Veterinary); first, second and third prizes for belles-lettres genre to Htet Khaing, Min Shin Aung (Twantay) and Nay Aung Thu (Kani). Yangon Region Planning and Finance Minister U Myint Thaung presented the second prize for the Myanmar’s Culture and Art genre to Zaw Lwin Oo (Hinthada) and first, second and third prizes for child literature genre to Maung Lun Myaing (Pinlebu), Pulaw Soe Nant Thar and Nyunt Win (Nattalin); second and third prize for the youth literature genre to Tin Lin Zaw and Neik and second and third prize for the play literature genre to Ngwe La Min (Magway) and Maung Lwe Eaik.—MNA
(Translated by U Kyaw Myaing)