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Kong Bunchhoeun

Kong Bunchhoeun was born in 1939 in Battambang province and grew up during the French Occupation, the Japanese Occupation, and the struggles following independence. “In my crib, my lullabies were the sounds of bullets and the cries of suffering families,” he wrote much later. His long career as a popular novelist, playwright, poet, and lyricist began in the 1950s. His prose works often combine the romantic and the supernatural, and his satiric novels attack corruption, exploitation of the weak and social injustice. In 1963 he was imprisoned for six months for writing a novel criticizing a high official in the royal government. During the Pol Pot regime, he escaped execution thanks to a Khmer Rouge cadre who had read his novels and testified that he was a writer with a “profound sense of social justice.” In 1981, he returned to Cambodia. However, in 2000, he was forced to flee the country as a result of publishing The Destiny of Marina, a novel based on an acid attack on his niece. With the exception of the period when the Khmer Rouge regime was in power, he has never ceased writing and publishing.

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