Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint is a writer, PhD candidate, and educator living in Denver, CO. She was born in Yangon, Myanmar in 1989, less than a year after the pro-democracy 8888 Uprising and the bloody coup that followed. Her family moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 1990, after the military junta annulled the results of the free election and established the second dictatorship. She and her elder sisters were homeschooled in Bangkok for seven years until her family was able to obtain green cards to come to the United States. She attended public elementary, middle and high schools in San Jose, California, and then went to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Because of her background, she has always been interested in the intersection of politics, culture, and identity. As an undergraduate at Brown, she double concentrated in International Relations and Literary Arts, as a Fulbright fellow in Madrid, Spain, she developed and implemented a Global Classrooms program at the bilingual high school where she taught, and now as a PhD student in English-Creative Writing at the University of Denver, she is striving to combine her academic and professional interests in comparative studies with her creative writing.
THE END OF PERIL, THE END OF ENMITY, THE END OF STRIFE, A HAVEN
Myint read the work of her residency at the end of April, we have partnered with Rediscovered Books for this first reading during which Myint read from her novel, The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven. This book tells the story of a return from emigration, the traumatic moment when the narrator—a young woman with a baby in her care—is confronted with her inheritance of historical violence and environmental devastation. Acclaimed author Jenny Boully has said of the novel, “Within what seems to be such spareness of words, Thirii Myint invokes a whole universe that clutches close the realms of memory, dream, and imagination, erasing the boundaries between the living and the dead, the sky and the earth, reality and myth.” We were pleased to welcome Myint and her powerful story at this reading.
WRITING FAMILY HISTORY: REMEMBERING IN ORDER TO TELL
Facilitated by Myint, this workshop introduced participants to family history as a narrative genre and to explore the possibilities of the genre, specifically how it allows writers to avoid categorization. All participants of this workshop—fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, and even individuals who do not identity as writers—are invited to take on the challenge of “remembering in order to tell,” and to recognize that all writers, no matter their perspectives, have unique stories to tell.
This workshop moved beyond basic understandings of identity and belonging (normal versus different), and explore thinking that allows for contradiction, ambiguity, and cohesion. Participants considered three main questions: what I know, what I want to know, and what I will never know. The workshop also included a discussion of ethics of writing memoir, writing exercises, time for reflection, and group sharing.
ZAT LUN: HOME, BELONGING, AND IDENTITY
During this reading,. Myint shared the work of her residency, Zat Lun. This family history project explored questions of home, belonging, and identity through an engagement with place, language, and memory. A Burmese word that roughly translates to narrative or chronicle, zat lun, is a record, an account, or a testimony consisting of observations, memories, and gossip, which have the potential to become legend and myth. A meandering narrative whose beginning and end are obscured and uncertain, a zat lun is inevitably complicated, contradictory, and incomplete as it endeavors to chronicle “real” or “true” events. This reading blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction and may appeal to those with interests in both genres as well as memoir.