International literary festival opens in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's first international literary festival opens Friday in Yangon, featuring dozens of authors from around the world, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Irrawaddy Literary Festival, which runs through Sunday, comes as Myanmar relaxes its censorship rules, bringing new freedom of expression to authors, journalists, bloggers and comedians. Many have served time as political prisoners.

Authors must still submit their books to the government for approval before distribution, but local authors say that for the most part the censors have put down their red pens and they can publish freely.

"Wild Swans" author Jung Chang, India's Vikram Seth and British historian Timothy Garton-Ash are scheduled to attend this weekend's festival along with more than 80 authors from Myanmar.

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