- By Shin Min
Progress and accomplishment
Sarpay Beikman is well known among literature enthusiasts for awarding the Lifetime Achievement for National Literary Award and National Literature Award annually. It is part of the Printing and Publishing Department and does its best to ensure Myanmar literature is promoted, the public is well informed, and the people’s livelihoods are enhanced through literature.
Selecting award nominees
During the second 1-year timeframe, the Printing and Publishing Department has published 64 literary works that have won the National Literature Award and 24 literary works that have won Pakkoku U Ohn Pe literary award. The total of literature awards receivers will have the opportunity to enter the National Literature Award in the following year.
There are two groups established to pick the best author for the National Literature Award and the Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Awards. These are in turn made up of smaller voting committees on different genres. There are 16 genres in the public sector and 13 genres in the Sarpay Beikman manuscript translation team.
Sarpay Beikman uploads its selection criteria and process on the MOI Webportal and the Sarpay Beikman Website for transparency. Experts choose from a wide range of lauded literary works, have meetings to grade and select nominations, and the Printing and Publishing Department manages the award ceremony.
Sarpay Beikman has successfully given out literary awards for 2015 and 2016. In 2015 Sarpay Beikman gave out two Lifetime Achievement for National Literary Awards along with Ks 2.5 million each, eleven National Literature Awards along with Ks 1.5 million each, and thirty-three Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Awards for 12 genres along with Ks 700,000 for first prize, Ks 500,000 for second prize, and Ks 300,000 for third prize.
Similarly in 2016, Sarpay Beikman gave out three Lifetime Achievement for National Literary Awards, ten National Literature Awards, and 26 Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Awards for 11 genres; all with the same prize money given in 2015.
Sarpay Beikman’s 70 year journey
On the occasion of Sarpay Beikman’s 70th anniversary a special compilation of articles was released in a single book form. Shwe Thway Journal for children is printed every Saturday and contains comics and trivia for children. Special issues were released in 2016 and 2018. A monthly magazine is also published containing translated articles and an encyclopedia is published once a year containing significant global events.
During the two year administration of the civilian government the Printing and Publishing Department published Burmese translated versions of Hillary Clinton’s Leadership Secrets, Value of a Citizen, Towards the Stars, and Asian Youth. In collaboration with Japan’s Shanti Volunteer Group, the Printing and Publishing Department held a translation competition for youths and the first place manuscript was published and distributed to Information and Public Relations Department (IPRDs).
Sarpay Beikman libraries
Sarpay Beikman has two libraries, one in Yangon and one in Mandalay, and provides services for staff from private libraries, students, library researchers, and research students. As for children, there are story telling competitions, spelling bees, and Shwe Thway poem recitals.
Paper reading sessions and book fairs
A political paper reading session and a rainy season book fair were held at the main building of the Printing and Publishing Department located at building (228) on Theinphyu Road from 29 to 31 July 2016. Sixteen papers were read and 170 book stalls were opened.
A history paper reading session and cold season book fair was held from 1 to 4 December 2016 and 14 papers were read and 200 book stalls were opened.
A translated text reading session and summer book fair was held from 29 April to 1 May 2017 and 15 papers were read and 165 book stalls were opened.
The Printing and Publishing Department also prints school textbooks for the Ministry for Education in time for the new school years. They printed 17.109 million school texts for the 2017-2018 academic year and printed 35.025 million school texts for the 2018-2019 academic year.
In the two year administration of the civilian government, the enterprise has printed 11,698,662 books and 17.8 million texts for ministries and private organisations. They also print documentary books for national events and occasions.
The enterprise has printed 4 volumes of the collected texts from the political paper and history paper reading sessions and the question and answer sessions, a book on te Uppatathendi Pagoda, Peace cartoons book, the first and second documentary books for the Union Peace Conference 21st Century Pang Long, Sarpay Beikman’s 70th Anniversary book, a book on the Union Government’s first year review and progress, and the first 100 days of progress for the public.
Future plans for literature development
The Printing and Publishing Department is carrying out a project to compile novels, short stories, poems and other articles and publish them in separate books for distribution to the public. A novel compilation is coming out soon. The department in collaboration with Tun Commercial Foundation will compile and print the 15 encyclopedias published over the previous 50 years. Shwe Thway journal for kids will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019 and a special gold jubilee edition is in the plans for printing.
The enterprise is planning to conduct three paper reading sessions, literary circles, workshops, and book exhibitions for ethnic people every budget year. Furthermore, there are plans to translate children’s books into ethnic languages, publishing children’s journals once every two months, and conferring appropriate cash prizes along with the National Literature Award and the Sarpay Beikman Manuscript Award.
Future plans for printing and publishing
The Printing and Publishing Department will continue its current responsibilities with an aim for improved quality in the future. The department began in 1880 in Yangon Central Jail to a government organisation that has been serving the public for over 130 years and will continue to provide printing and translated texts to the public and the government.
Translated by Chris