Wednesday, November 26, 2008
book launch could be scheduled without the appearance of the author but that's exactly what happened at Monument books in Phnom Penh this evening - and it turned out just fine. In fact Monument Books went out of their way to make up for the absence of author Denise Heywood, residing back home in London, by entertaining the good crowd with a performance of classical Cambodian dance, accompanied by a youthful pinpeat orchestra, a great spread of food and drink and an introduction to the evening by celebrated author and owner of the publishers, River Books, MR Narisa Chakrabongse. It was earlier this year that Narisa, the founder and chairwoman of Green World Foundation, had boycotted an offer to carry the Olympic torch in protest of China's actions against Tibet. She is a well-established author herself with books published on the Thai royal family and edited Denise Heywood's new book. The teenage dancers and orchestra came from the Preak Leap-based NGO Angkar Sangkruos Komar Borey Bakheng, who provide free arts training to the poor and gifted of the village of Bakheng, just outside the capital. They put on a fine show which fitted in perfectly with the theme of the evening's launch, and the title of the new book, Cambodian Dance. I must also congratulate Monument on their catering efforts too (courtesy of Java Cafe) but of course they now have to maintain these high standards they have set themselves, starting with the book-signing by Ambassador Sichan Siv and his Golden Bones book on Saturday evening.