Kho Tararith used to be a moto taxi driver and construction worker in Phnom Penh. Today, he’s a writer enrolled with the prestigious literary program at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.
Kho Tararith, who is participating in a one-year fellowship at the university, says he loves to write short stories and poems that examine social issues in Cambodia. He has his own way of doing things.
“I’ve had to pave the way for myself,” he told VOA Khmer. “That’s what I’m doing. I have my own style, and I write about social issues that I see. I’m an independent writer.”
Kho Tararith said he wants to maintain his independence, while at the same time promoting Khmer-language literature.
“I don’t belong to any political party, because if I did, I would lose my independence,” he said. “I’d have to write what the party boss wanted me to write.”
When his year is finished, he said, he wants to find another scholarship to continue his studies in the US. After that, he said he hopes to return to Cambodia to help young writers develop their craft.