10 February 2023
9.30 – 11.30 am
Payap Life Long Learning Center
Enchanted Land Book Presentation at Payap University Lifelong Learning Center
Title: Enchanted Land. Foreign Writings about Chiang Mai in the Early 20th Century (River Books 2023).
Format: Illustrated Introduction by the Editor (Graham Jefcoate) with Readings from the Book.
In the years between 1867 and 1941, Chiang Mai and northern Siam (the present-day north of Thailand) was home to a small but influential community of farang or western foreigners. The westerners who came to live and work in the north during this period fell generally into three main categories: missionaries associated with the American Presbyterian Mission; the so-called “teak-wallahs”, as the managers and assistants employed by the foreign forestry companies were known; and government officials, who were either foreign diplomats or specialists working for the Siamese government. The improved accessibility of the region created by the expansion railway network also meant that, by the mid-1920s, more recreational travellers were visiting the north.
Many of these residents and visitors and wrote about their lives, their work and experiences in the north in the form of letters, reports, magazine articles, memoirs, novels, short stories and even poetry. The present book provides a selection of their writings, very few of which are currently in print or easily available. The writings are personal and often vivid. As Ben Svasti has said, in the book you “can almost hear them chatting away about their work, their dinner parties, their club, the climate, insect pests and elephants in this enchanted land so distant in so many ways from their homelands in the west”.
After an introduction and some readings from the book there will be the opportunity to ask questions, buy copies (at a special discount) and have them signed by the editor.
There will also be a display of some of the rare books on which Enchanted Land is based and an opportunity to see other rare books in the Lifelong Learning Center Library.
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