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First-Ever Literary Festival To Be Held in Coastal Town of Kampot


“We’re all inspired by books and by words, from poetry to screenwriting to songwriting, non-fiction and fiction,” Wayne McCallum, one of the organizers, told VOA Khmer. (Photo: Phorn Bopha/VOA Khmer)

“We’re all inspired by books and by words, from poetry to screenwriting to songwriting, non-fiction and fiction,” Wayne McCallum, one of the organizers, told VOA Khmer. (Photo: Phorn Bopha/VOA Khmer)

The festival, the first of its kind in the coastal town, will include writers, songwriters, singers and journalists.

The Kampot Writers and Readers Festival will be held next week. The festival, the first of its kind in the coastal town, will include writers, songwriters, singers and journalists.

More than 500 people are expected to attend some 40 sessions across 15 venues in town, beginning Thursday.

“We’re all inspired by books and by words, from poetry to screenwriting to songwriting, non-fiction and fiction,” Wayne McCallum, one of the organizers, told VOA Khmer. “And we all really like Kampot.”

The festival will be an official event under the Ubud Writers Festival, in Indonesia, he said. McCallum, who is from New Zealand, came to Cambodia in 2003. The two other cofounders are Robert Starkweather, from the US, and Julien Poulson, of Australia.

About 1,000 people have registered for the event via Facebook. At the festival, people can swap books and games, or donate books to different schools in the province. Cambodian and international writers will network with each other, as well. Events will range from readings, concerts, cooking classes, gourmet lunches, children’s events, architecture, local tours, an art exhibition, a book launch and others.

Paul Kelly, a singer from Australia, will perform, along with Cambodian bands. Robert Carmichael, a journalist and author of “When Clouds Fell from the Sky,” will take part in a panel on writing, along with Cambodian writer Kosal Khiev.

“The fact is that these sort of festivals are held around the world,” McCallum said. “They are actually a global phenomenon. We’ve just decided it’s time that Cambodia has it own, and we decided that Kampot is a good place to do it.”

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