The Irrawaddy Literary Festival is an annual not-for-profit event, under the patronage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which takes place on alternate years in Mandalay and Yangon, Burma/Myanmar in the month of February. In its inaugural year, it drew 10,000 attendees.
It has been described by former British Foreign Secretary William Hague as having “achieved more for freedom of speech in one afternoon than most of us manage in a lifetime.” and by current British Ambassador Andrew Patrick as being ‘the most talked about international cultural event in Burma.”
The Festival was founded by Jane Heyn in 2013, and is run by a board of Directors comprising Burmese and non-Burmese members. Past participants include Thant Myint-U, Pascal Khoo Thwe, Jung Chang, Vikram Seth, William Dalrymple, Fergal Keane, Thierry Falise, Louis de Bernières, Polly Devlin, and Caroline Moorehead.