Peer of Orwell, Kipling and Neruda in Myanmar remembered in new book

Top Quote New Book about local Australian author remembered as a peer of George Orwell, Somerset Maugham, and Pablo Neruda in Myanmar. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 09, 2018 - Pioneering Australian Writer and Guide Dr Bob Percival Eulogised in Newly Published Book ‘Opening Up Hidden Burma’

    An Australian author and historian who walked in the footsteps of George Orwell, and Rudyard Kipling in Myanmar’s Yangon is acknowledged as a literary hero and heritage protection pioneer in a newly published book recently released in Australia.

    ‘Opening Up Hidden Burma: journeys with – and without – author Dr Bob Percival’ (Tenko Press, 2018) is an anthology of travel tales and tributes about the writer, guide and Burmaphile, ‘Mr Bob’, who died suddenly in April 2017.

    Burmese writer San Lin Tun says Percival had the qualities of two famous foreign authors who lived in and traveled around Myanmar almost a century ago. “In his heart, Bob was like poet Pablo Neruda; in his writing, he was like Somerset Maugham. Bob’s writing was more poetic than prosaic. He was adept at capturing the ordinary lives of those living in downtown Yangon.”

    He believes the depth and ground-breaking nature of his work may be more appreciated in the future. “Bob Percival’s writing will be remembered and cherished in the long tradition of foreign authors who have visited Yangon. His name will be listed in the canon of those writers from aboard who have been moved by visiting Myanmar, alongside Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Paul Theroux and Pico Iyer.”

    The book combines biography and reminiscences, with more than two dozen contributors from Australia, Myanmar and around the world including former BBC journalists and prominent Burmese authors, sharing quirky observations, from personal interactions in the small streets of downtown Yangon, to encounters with political prisoners, and primitive hill-tribes.

    Every story, poem, article or love letter is in some way connected with the late author known as ‘Mr Bob’, says editor and co-author Keith Lyons. “This is an important book, not just in remembering the life of an Australian abroad, but also for the insight it gives into a unique expat experience in Myanmar, and the current situation in the enigmatic, newly-democratic nation where Australia is extensively engaged in trade, teaching, aid, and advice.”

    Before living in Myanmar and south-west China for half a dozen years, completing his PhD in creative writing on memory, Dr Percival worked as a teacher and an oral historian, working with Aboriginal communities in New South Wales and the Northern Territories, co-authoring the ‘Bush foods of New South Wales’. He lived and worked throughout Australia, and has surviving family connections in NSW and Queensland.

    Former British Council literary advisor in Myanmar, Lucas Stewart, praised the book, saying, “Above all else, this book poignantly reminds us all that even in the silent corners of the world, there are lives worth remembering.”

    ISBN: 9780473427641
    Email: ( @ ) mail dot com

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