marcel barang

La korn, Wanich

In English on 17/05/2010 at 5:15 pm

 

Well-known writer Wanich Jarungkit-anan died yesterday of acute leukaemia. He was 61.

He won the SEA Write Award in 1984 for ซอยเดียวกัน (Soi Diaokan – In the same street), a collection of short stories, several of which have become classics. His popular novel แม่เบี้ย (Mae Bia – literally The cobra’s hood) generated several movies, notably The Snake Lady. My translation of this ‘anti-romance’, under the title Cobra, is available as an e-book on my site, thaifiction.com.

I first met Wanich in 1993 in his office at GMM Grammy to ask for permission to publish his novel in English and for biographical details for the relevant chapter of my anthology, the 20 best novels of thailand (also available at thaifiction.com). Years later, I met him again briefly in a much-firewatered literary do I had erred into. When the time came last year to republish Cobra as an e-book, a couple of phone calls, to his wife Torrung and then to him, were enough to settle the matter: ‘Yes I remember you well. I trust you. Just go ahead,’ he said.

As homage to this gentleman of letters, I will translate in the next few days one of his short stories, Mueang Looang (Life in the capital) for publication in the Bangkok Post on Monday 7 June.

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