The PEN community mourns the passing of writer and President of PEN Myanmar, Nyein Chan (henceforth referred to by his pen name, Nyi Pu Lay).
On 21 June 2023, Nyi Pu Lay died following a heart attack. Since the coup, Nyi Pu Lay had been living in hiding, preventing him from receiving adequate medical care due to the risk of arrest by the military junta.
Nyi Pu Lay was PEN Myanmar’s longest-serving president and a recipient of Myanmar’s National Literature Award in 2016. Born in 1952, Nyi Pu Lay was the youngest son of Ludu Daw Amar and Ludu U Hla, both prominent dissident writers and journalists. Nyi Pu Lay followed in his parents’ footsteps, becoming one of Myanmar’s most celebrated writers. He also was unyielding in his principled opposition to military dictatorship and was first imprisoned by the regime along with his mother for several months in 1978. In 1990 he was arrested and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for alleged contact with “illegal organisations”. He was released in 1999 along with fellow writer and founder of PEN Myanmar, Ma Thida.
On behalf of PEN Centres around the world, PEN International expresses its deepest condolences to Nyi Pu Lay’s family, friends, and fellow members of PEN Myanmar during this extremely difficult time. May his writing continue to be a source of joy and inspiration for readers around the world.