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The People Elsewhere is a vivid tableau of time and place, and an ode to the ethnic richness of Myanmar.

'Over Red Ruby cigarettes, Sayar gave me a copy of an A to Z biography of Burmese-language writers he had edited, and my thoughts drifted to writers elsewhere . . .’

In a five year journey all across Myanmar, Lucas Stewart travels from Yangon in the south to the northern limits of Kachin State in search of the literary luminaries of the country’s recent past. He bonds with censored and jailed writers, poets, publishers and booksellers, recording their stories of heritage and resilience. In his conversations with students at an Aung San Suu Kyi rally or sharing stories with a Kayah farmer in his village house, the long-suppressed literatures and languages of minorities such as the Chin, Kachin, Shan and others shine through.

The People Elsewhere is a vivid tableau of time and place, and an ode to the ethnic richness of Myanmar.


The People Elsewhere is a vigorous and compelling travel parable. More importantly, it’s the story we’ve been waiting to read about Myanmar, a country with a highly-wrought and complex ethnic history with perhaps over a hundred ethnicities existing beyond the state-driven narrative of ‘Burmese’.

James Byrne co-editor of, Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets

Lucas Stewart’s book is an exquisite map of the many literatures of Myanmar, of the human impulse to express oneself through story and song, and of the courageous bards and storytellers who kept literature alive against the odds. In scenes alternately warming and harrowing, it braids travel, history and literary criticism in a most ingenious way to give us an unforgettable portrait of a country long forgotten by the world.

Chandrahas Choudhury author of, Clouds and editor of India: A Traveller's Literary Companion

Lucas Stewart’s journey across Myanmar offers a fascinating insight and a rare glimpse of life through its storytellers. He captures how the writers he meets struggled to keep alive their past and rich patchwork of languages and traditions through their love of literature. Anyone, wanting to discover Myanmar’s rich cultural heritage and how these endearing, diverse and remarkable peoples did more than just survive, will find this an important and essential read.

Nick Danziger photojournalist and author of, Danziger's Adventures

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    December 20, 2016

    Viking (China Adult)

    RRP $29.99

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