Atmospheric Kampot is hosting the likes of Jung Chang and Madeleine Thien as it seeks to rebuild Cambodia’s literary scene and defend its freedom of speech

Cambodia has long wooed visitors with its ancient temples and Phnom Penh’s chaotic charms, but next week the southern coastal town of Kampot will be in the spotlight as it hosts the Kampot Readers and Writers Festival (running from 1-5 November).

A sister event to Bali’s literary festival, held in Ubud each October, the five-day event, now in its third year, was set up to nurture Cambodia’s storytelling culture. It’s estimated that more than 90% of all artists died under the Khmer Rouge, and while fine arts, dance and music seem to have blossomed again, the Cambodian literature scene has been struggling.

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