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Ma Thida: Myanmar’s Struggle for Democracy


Event Status

Renowned Burmese human rights activist, writer, surgeon and former prisoner of conscience Ma Thida shares her courageous personal journey of resistance.

About the Event

In 1993, Ma Thida was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her support of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and for ‘endangering public peace, having contact with illegal organisations, and distributing unlawful literature’.

Released from prison in 1999, Thida’s advocacy for freedom of expression continues unabated as Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee and as a current fellow in the Writers-in-Exile Programme of PEN Germany.

In June, Ma Thida appears at The Wheeler Centre in conversation with writer, essayist and academic Michelle Aung Thin. Together, they’ll discuss the current political situation in Myanmar, Thida’s activism and survival of the harsh conditions of Insein Prison, and her ongoing dedication to freedom of expression.

Please note: this event will be live-captioned.


Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to PEN International Myanmar. 

Supported by RMIT Culture.


Accessible toilets available

Assistive Listening

Auslan interpreting available by request

Companion tickets available

Open Captions

Registered Assistance Animals welcome

Wheelchair accessible

For information regarding accessibility at The Wheeler Centre, click here.

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact


Ma Thida

Ma Thida is a medical doctor, writer, human rights activist. She believes in freedom of expression. In 1993, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “endangering public peace, having contact with illegal organizations, and distributing unlawful literature.” She was released in 1999 a... Read more

Michelle Aung Thin

Dr Michelle Aung Thin was born in Rangoon, Burma (now known as Yangon and Myanmar respectively) and grew up in Ottawa, Canada. A novelist and essayist, she is the author of The Monsoon Bride, (Text 2011) and Hasina (Allen & Unwin), published as Crossing the Farak River (Annick) in Canada and the... Read more


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176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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