Revolutionary Novels Based on True Events

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I participated in ‘Freedom Starts with Books’ campaign last week and one of the questions stayed with me for some time. It is about the correlation between revolutions and literature. How one influences another. From that I have an idea of making a list of some novels (historical fictions) I have read which are based on true events of students movements and uprising in Myanmar and other asian countries.

The books written in or translated to English:

  • A Good True Thai by Sunisa Manning — student uprising in 70’s Thailand 🇹🇭
  • The Sea Speaks His Name by Leila S. Chudori — 1998 student abductions during the Suharto regime in Indonesia 🇮🇩
  • Human Acts by Han Kang — 1980 student uprising in Gwangju, South Korea 🇰🇷
  • Unfree Speech by Joshua Wong is a non fiction book of protest in Hong Kong 🇭🇰 and Wong’s activities in various student movements and work for the change in HK’s political landscape.
  • Another book is The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton which tells you the stories of protesters during the Egyptian 🇪🇬 revolution.

For Burmese novels, I have four books:

  • Stone Inscriptions Can’t be Expunged by an Eraser by Mya Hmone Lwin (ကျောက်စာကို ခဲဖျက်နှင့် ဖျက်၍မရ – မြေမှုန်လွင်) is a story of a youth who involved in 2007 Saffron Revolution.
  • One Night by Adam Maw (ထိုတည – အာဒမ်မော်) is about the riveting events encountered by a group pf students involved in 1988 uprising in Myitkyina, nothern city of Myanmar.
  • Sombre Blue Mist by Maung Shin Saw (နှင်းရိပ်ပြာမှောင် – မောင်ရှင်စော) features some of the early student movements in 1988.
  • Will It Rain by Aung Pyae (ပြိုမှာလေလားမိုးရဲ့ – အောင်ပြည့်) has snippets of student movements and briefly on the protests in Rangoon University in 1962 July 7.

There were a couple of novels by Thein Pe Myint for colonial time revolutions led by the university students. There were a few novels by authors like Nat Nwe, Tekkatho Phone Naing and others on student uprisings after Burma being Independent.

I believe there are several hundreds of novels and non-fiction books across the globe based on the revolutions led by their countrymen. Because of the revolutions, many have voiced out and penned their thoughts and experiences, share their traumas and pain as well as the inspiring occurrences and success stories in their lives. Similarly, through literature, people get inspirations and courage to overthrow the years (decades) long dictatorship and fight against the oppressions.


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