“Prabda and I are both children of ’80s
Bangkok, old enough to remember the city without a
sky train or a McDonald’s, but young enough for these
signs of modernisation not to seem out of place when
we imagine our hometown. The ’80s and ’90s were
comparatively light-hearted decades in Thailand, with
economic realities becoming easier and, for better or
worse, politics regarded with relative apathy. Rapid
modernisation paved the way for both hyper-nostalgia
and hyper-curiosity about the new, and Prabda
captures both of these impulses through his youthful
narrators, who often recall their childhoods.”
Excerpt from the Translator’s Afterword in The Sad Part Was by Prabda Yoon.
Sponsored by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, a donor advised fund of the London Community Foundation, Asia House introduces its brand new series, Sin Cities: Vice & Virtue Across Asia’s Urban Landscapes, with Unlock Bangkok with Prabda Yoon.
Translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul, who will also be joining us for the launch, and published in English for the first time by Tilted Axis Press, Prabda Yoon’s new collection of postmodern short-stories titled The Sad Part Was will be launched at this entertaining talk chaired by Rachel Harrison, Professor of Thai Cultural Studies at SOAS.
Winner of a PEN Translates grant and selected as a “a book to look for in 2017” by The Guardian and BuzzFeed Books, The Sad Part Was comprises twelve highly literary and entrancing short-stories which deliver narratives that offer an oblique reflection of contemporary Bangkok life, exploring the bewildering contradictions of a modernity that is mismatched with many traditional Thai ideas on relationships, family, school and work.
They dip into pop culture, push the boundaries of punctuation, dally with sci-fi and, in a metafictional twist, mock Yoon’s own position as omnipotent author. Don’t be fooled by the title, you’re guaranteed to crack a smile!
So if you want to have a closer look at Thai culture, come and dive into vice and virtue in contemporary Bangkok with Prabda Yoon, a modern-day polymath whose interests reach beyond the realm of writing and extend to translation, publishing, graphic design and filmmaking.
Thai-inspired cocktails and wine will be available at the paid bar after the talk. There will also be a book signing during the reception. Please note that we will only be able to accept cash for drinks and copies of the book.
To book tickets for this event, please click here.
General: £10, Concessions: £8, Members: £5
Asia House Arts Members need to enter their unique membership number when booking online. This can be found on the back of your membership card. Please call 0207 307 5454 if you experience any issues booking tickets.
Prabda Yoon photo credit: Pat Phetthong