Back To Top

Burmese activist named recipient of Kim Geun Tae Award

Pencilo, the author of “Spring Revolution”. (Publication Morae-al)
Pencilo, the author of “Spring Revolution”. (Publication Morae-al)

Burmese writer and democracy activist Pencilo has been honored with the Kim Geun Tae Award for her book "Spring Revolution."

The award is named after Kim Geun-tae, a pro-democracy activist and politician who laid the cornerstone of South Korean democracy.

Pencilo, the author of "Spring Revolution," published a Korean translation of her work in February.

Pencilo is an aide to Aung San Suu Kyi. She and six other high-profile figures have been sought after Myanmar's junta on charges of inciting unrest on social media after the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. The Spring Revolution of Myanmar was declared later in the same month.

She has since been working in exile in order to help restore democracy to her country, according to Korean publisher Morae-al. In her work, Pencilo consistently recorded everything after fleeing Myanmar, it said.

While running away from military arrest, Pencilo led campaigns on social media to mobilize pro-democracy demonstrations, and the book "Spring Revolution" is a recount of her escape, the democratic uprising, and the resistance of the people of Myanmar that she saw with her own eyes.

In naming Pencilo as the seventh recipient of the Kim Geun-tae Award, the foundation recalled Gwangju Uprising in May 1980, when soldiers fired shots at citizens chanting for democracy.

"As we watch Pencilo, we think of democracy advocate Kim Geun-tae, who was wanted by the dictatorial regime for over 10 years, kept his chin up at every one of his 26 arrests, and marched forward, arm in arm, in Korea when the country was still under a draconian dictatorship," said the selection committee in a press release on Monday said.

The award ceremony was held Thursday in Seoul on the sidelines of commemorations for Kim Geun-tae's 11th anniversary. Artist Shemo, a Myanmar-born activist, received the award on behalf of the writer, who is currently in exile in US.


By Sanjay Kumar (