|U Soe Nyunt, better known as Htilar Sitthu.
RENOWNED writer, composer and journalist U Soe Nyunt, better known as Htilar Sitthu, passed away at his Botahtaung township home on October 2 at the age of 78.
The widely respected laureate died at 10:40am following a battle with liver cancer, his family said. He is survived by his wife, Daw Hla Yin Yin Soe, and their eight children.
U Soe Nyunt leaves behind a large body of work, including more than 50 published books, of which the epic O Withered Leaf from River Mekong will perhaps be the best remembered.
Eighteen of his Myanmar-language books have been translated into English, French or German. His poems were also included in textbooks prescribed by the Ministry of Education at the basic and higher education levels of schooling.
In addition to his PhD in Poetry and Composition from Dublin Metropolitan University, U Soe Nyunt received many titles and decorations both within Myanmar and abroad.
At the tail end of his journ-alism career he served as editor-in-chief of the state-run daily Kyemon from 1985 to 1990 and later as general manager of the News and Periodical Enterprise.
While he wrote most prominently under the penname Htilar Sitthu, he also had works published under the names Than Lwin, Ye Gaung Kyaw Swa and Bo Than Mani.
Born April 18, 1932 in Meiktila township’s Shwe Sitthi village, U Soe Nyunt was the only son of U Ba Yin and Daw Ohn Tin. He had two sisters.
After graduating from the Officer Training School in Mingalardon in 1950, U Soe Nyunt rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served as Deputy Minister of Culture from 1992 to 2003, under Major General Kyi Aung, before his retirement.
His upbringing in Mandalay Division was a constant theme in his work, manifested in his last work, “Memorable History of Mandalay, Memorable Capital Mandalay”. He composed the poem to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of Mandalay earlier this year.
“I like the themes in my father’s poems,” said one of U Soe Nyunt’s sons, U Yazar Soe Nyunt. “My favourite of all his poems is ‘Biography of Min Shin’.”
Several of his novels – Malikha Chit Thu (Lover of Malikha), Mya Pale Thwe (Pearl Necklace) and Yametzaw (Desire) – were also made into successful films. As the creator of novels like Then, Quiet Flows the Ayeyarwady, Htila Sitthu’s legacy will continue to reverberate through the world of contemporary Myanmar literature.