marcel barang

SEA Write 2011: It’s Jadet Siriworn!

In English, Reading matters on 20/09/2011 at 4:41 pm

At 3:30pm today, I get a call from Siriworn Kaewkan: Jadet Kamjorndet is this year’s SEA Write Award winner!

This means that, at long last, Nai Siriworn, who has failed to get his own poems, short stories or novels crowned for a record number of years, is this year’s winner by proxy.
Because, as head of Pajonphai Publishing, he is the publisher of Jadet Kamjorndet’s winning collection of short stories, The morning sun is too hot to sit sipping coffee.
Since the SEA Write Award virtually guarantees sales by the tens of thousands, two top writers are going to be rolling in it. Let’s hope future print runs will see a more inspired cover than the current one, though.

Jadet, Siriworn tells me, is on his way to Bangkok from his native South: public relations chores await him here – including a visit to his (self-anointed) English translator in the latter’s cavern later this week.

Well, I had a hunch Jadet might be crowned: his book, despite its shortcomings (‘Laying it on a bit thick’, 24/07/11) offers better novelty value than those of Anusorn Tipayanon, Rewat Panpipat or Fa Punvoralak. And since the Bangkok Post contacted me some time ago to ask whether I’d be prepared to translate one story by whoever won the prize, I went ahead and the story entitled ‘Let’s hope Kimarz won’t be wrong again’ (Wang Wa Kima Ja Mai Phlart Eek) is ready for publication. It’s three thousand words long, the right size for the Post.

And as charity begins at home, I also translated the story opening the book, entitled ‘This morning the sun is out’ (Chao Wan Nee Mee Daet) and disguised as ‘writer’s notes’ – the strangest introduction to a volume of fiction I’ve ever read. It’ll be online on my bilingual blog this coming Friday, on the first minute of that day.

Chayo! And congrats to the two Southerners.

PS: Actually, my literal translation of Jadet’s book title is stupid. It should read It’s too hot this morning to sit sipping coffee in the sun.

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