Neilson Hays is turning 150 this year. To celebrate, Bangkok’s oldest library is organizing an impressive festival that should pull even bibliophiles and budding authors away from their books for a little while.
On Nov 16-17, Neilson Hays is teaming up with the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture to bring 25 award-winning writers from around the world to the library for the first Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival. Expect talks, poetry reading and panel discussions led by writers who have won almost every literary award under the sun: Pulitzer, PEN, SEA Write—you name it.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Adam Johnson and Melissa Lucashenko—who recently bagged Australia’s most prestigious prize, the Miles Franklin Award, for her fictional “Too Much Lip”—headline the festival.
There are over a dozen of Southeast Asia’s best and brightest on the docket, too, like Veeraporn Nitiprapha, the 2018 SEA Write-winner known for her surreal “The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth,” as well as up-and-coming Thai writers and translators. Those include Mui Poopoksakul, the Berlin-based translator of Prabda Yoon’s “The Sad Part Was” and “Moving Parts,” and Pitchaya Sudbanthad, whose debut novel “Bangkok Wakes to Rain” has earned plaudits from no less than The New York Times and The Guardian.
It’s not all book talk, though. There’s going to be an art and craft market, workshops and film screenings, with events getting started at 9am both days.
Neilson Hays was founded as a library association by a group of expat women way back in 1869. By 1914, the group—and its collection of books—had grown so large it needed its own space, and in 1922 the wood-clad Neilson Hays Library opened on Surawong Road, where it still stands today.
For the full line-up of speakers and to reserve your space at any of the talks, visit here.