Good Southeast Asian literature and its related commentary can be hard to find for some of the people living in this region’s – however, it is possible.
One such gem is the Mekong Review, a quarterly literary journal that aims to bring the region’s literary and intellectual life to a broader audience.
Publishing fiction, essays, reviews and poetry from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the Mekong Review is an independent publication with no political, institutional or commercial affiliations.
On January 28, thanks to organisers PUSAKA, Tintabudi and IBDE (Inisiatif Buku Darul Ehsan), Malaysians got to engage in a conversation with Minh Bui Jones, the Founding Editor of Mekong Review.
Bui Jones had a background in television and journalism. Based in Sydney, Australia, Bui Jones had worked with organisations such as Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, and the Sydney Morning Herald. He had also lived in Britain, Cambodia and Thailand before.
Before the birth of Mekong Review, Bui Jones already had experience in founding magazines, having started magazines such as The Diplomat and American Review.
But what started Mekong Review was the call for contribution by the organisers of the Kampot Writers and Readers Festival in Cambodia.
“I ran into two friends who were organizing the festival. They asked me to contribute something, and I said yes.”
“On my way home in a tuk-tuk, it struck me that it’s a perfect time to start a literary magazine, and the festival is three and a half weeks away, so I really have to move quickly.”
Bui Jones explained that in the publishing business, timing is everything – if you are a week too early or a week too late, you will miss the boat.
“When you see an opportunity like that, to launch a literary magazine at a reader’s festival, you just couldn’t dream of a better launchpad for it. There’s momentum, and people are excited and motivated. The festival will help promote your magazine as they promote their event, allowing you resources you might not have.
Read Charles Chiam’s interview with Founding Editor of Mekong Review, Minh Bui Jones, on Eksentrika.
ArtsEquator Radar features articles and posts drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region.