Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reyum Produces Books on Literary Culture for Students

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Reyum Institute plans to print more books for Cambodian readers, according to its Founding Director, Ly Daravuth. He said that his non-governmental organization aims to serve as platform for research and documentation and provide an arena for the exchange of ideas and creative expression.

Currently, there are eight titles scheduled for a print-run of over 2,000 copies each, on topics covering Khmer Food, Khmer culture, Cambodian history, and Geography. They will be published early in 2009, according to Reyum’s plan. Next year, the organization’s catalogue will expand with a broader range of titles to stock the shelves of libraries and book sellers both here and abroad.

“I note that books produced today are generally poorly printed and often poorly written,” he said. “Worse than this, books are not readily available to all sections of the community, especially in rural areas and some children grow up never having owned a single picture book,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during a personal interview on February 4.

The Director said Reyum is to focuses on two areas of book printing. Firstly, Reyum will publish scholarly books, in conjunction with various research and exhibition projects. Secondly, Reyum will produce high quality Khmer language books for children.

“Reyum is committed to the printing and distribution of Khmer Language books to as wide a local population as possible,” he said, “and we hope that we will make a worthwhile contribution to the development of literary culture in Cambodia.”

Van Sovanny, General Manager of the Reyum Institute, said that since the establishment of the Organization in 1998, over 200,000 books had been printed, covering about 70 titles. The books are sold at the Reyum Institute and at outlets in Cambodia and abroad, with prices ranging from as little as US $2.50 up to US $ 25 per title, according to Sovanny.

The General Manager emphasized that all profits from the book sales will be reinvested in Reyum’s publishing operations to pay for the addition of extra titles. She added that Reyum is committed to the free distribution of a considerable portion of each print run to libraries and schools through the Kingdom of Cambodia.

She revealed that Reyum has been conducting three additional programs covering exhibitions and events that foster creativity and critical thinking, and provide contemporary artists with the opportunity to explore and create new work; the organization has a research wing for the benefit of scholars and academics; and an Art School which provides free art classes for all students.

Reyum’s ongoing activities are supported by the Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund, Ingrid’s Bequest Fund for Reyum, LINC, the Toyota Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the Japan Foundation, the Kasunisou Foundation and the Friends of Khmer Culture.

Khloat Vibola, Director of National Library and also Deputy Director of the Book and Reading Department in the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, praised Reyum’s publishing operation.

“I am so pleased with Reyum’s work. All books published by Reyum are very interesting and useful to our readers,” she said. “I think that these books will make a valuable contribution towards the development of literary culture in Cambodia,” she added.

She concluded, “I appeal to Reyum to continue researching, writing texts on different subjects and publishing more books for our people and our children’s future.”

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