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Ma Thida: Myanmar’s Struggle for Democracy

‘As a writer in Myanmar, our creativity (is) never because of the freedom we have. Our creativity is more or less resting on the hunting for the freedom we want to have’Ma Thida.

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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.

Earlier this month, Ma Thida appeared at The Wheeler Centre in conversation with writer, essayist and academic Michelle Aung Thin. Together, they discussed 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.



The event was recorded on Thursday 6 June 2024 at The Wheeler Centre.

It was presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne and supported by RMIT Culture.

Featured music is ‘No One There’ by Ava Low.

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