Myanmar's first literary festival kicks off in Yangon

Myanmar's first literary festival kicks off in Yangon

Led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the landmark event features dozens of local and international writers
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the media launch of the Irrawaddy Literary Festival.

Another big first for Myanmar this weekend -- from February 1-3, Yangon is hosting the inaugural Irrawaddy Literary Festival, which will feature sessions by local and international writers. 

As recently as 2010, this event never would have been possible due to tight visa restrictions and the fact the festival's patron, Aung San Suu Kyi, was still under house arrest. 

“I am delighted to lend my support and personal participation to this first Irrawaddy Literary Festival," the Myanmar democracy icon said in a statement.

"Literature has always been a big part of my life and I hope this festival, which brings together some of the finest talent from Burma (Myanmar), the United Kingdom and elsewhere will encourage more people to explore the world of literature and further their understanding of the English language.”

Among notable names taking part: Jung Chang, author of the best-selling books "Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China" and "Mao: The Unknown Story;" Scottish best-selling historian William Dalrymple; and Fergal Keane, Orwell Prize winning author of "Season of Blood."

For the full list of participating authors and sessions, which will be held in both English and Burmese, visit

Check back with CNN Travel next week, when we'll post a full feature with highlights and interviews from the event.  

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