Authors, scriptwriters and about 200 young book enthusiasts gathered at Zaman University in Phnom Penh last weekend at the event called “Writing Inspiration” – a rare chance for people to meet and learn from well-known authors who made Cambodian literature as rich as it is today.
Book lovers were given the chance to discuss about their favourite literary pieces with the authors and how these books influenced people’s perception towards history, towards love and towards life.
But the highlight of the evening was the launching of the new romance novel by SEA Write Award 2013 winner Sok Chanphal– Sangsa 14 Thngai (14 Days of Love in English).
Mr Chanphal had made a name for himself as a novelist and songwriter at Rasmey Hang Meas Film Production for more than a decade. 14 Thngai is seventh book to date.
Clad in a t-shirt printed with 14 Days of Love during the book launching, the famous author recalled how he started writing stories and composing songs when he was in high school. He put up his own blog site in 2006 when he entered university.
“I don’t really talk too much. So if I wanted to tell people my story, it was very hard. Writing was the only way. From then, I started writing. I didn’t really wish to become an author but I am happy that my friends and other people support my craft.”
While studying in Phnom Penh, Mr Chanphal got a job at a non-government organisation. Though busy with his part-time job, he still gave his passion some focus and time by joining various seminars, workshops and trainings. He also joined the Khmer Writers Association. It was where his passion burned brighter. He then applied as script and song writer at Rasmey Hang Meas Film Production.
After working in the local productions for many years, he knew he made the right decision. His passion for writing got polished. He also received support and appreciation from many people for his works in the film production.
“Perhaps, I was really born to be a writer. My destiny designed me to love this career unconditionally.”
Most of Mr Chanphal’s literary pieces speak of love, emotions and sensational relationships. They all depict what human beings go through when they’re in love, when they’re emotions are too high. All his storylines seemed to also tell something about the author’s personal life and experiences. Mr Chanphal said he didn’t get to experience much warm, love and affection because he lived without a father since he was young.
“My pieces are mostly about love. My personal experiences and life taught me to understand and appreciate love deeply,”
Aside from being a reflection of the author’s life, the books also contain educational and inspiring messages to readers as well.
“I can say that one book can influence you a lot and change your whole life. I lived with depression for 30 years. But the books Magic, written by Rhonda Byrne, Dharma and Vipassana helped me until I was healed. The fame and the success are not the key things that would lead one to real happiness. I used to think negative things and was also unsatisfied with everything that I have. And I tried to put this message through the characters I wrote.”
“This is how I wrote the female character Yany in 14 Days of Love. She used her pain to make herself successful. She used love and gratitude as her fuel to create a new life. People appreciate you when you’re on top. But only you know who you really are.”
At the end of the year, 14 Days of Love will be adapted into film. Antriy Film, which is also co-founded by Mr Chanphal, will be producing the movie.
Mr Chanphal said both the book and film, which he poured his heart and soul into, is his sign of devotion for Cambodian female writer Mao Samnang or Tonsay, who he said he idolises so much. The book also depicts the story of Ms Samnang.
Visit KhmerWriter Facebook Page to buy a copy of the book!