About me

I am a writer and translator from Sisaket City, northeastern Thailand, who lives in Indianapolis. I spend my days at home, wrapped up in words.

You can read about how I came into the work of translation in this bilingual interview by soi.

My pronouns are they/them. At times I am embarrassed by the pretentious umlaut in my last name, but I am still too proud to lose it: I put it there a decade ago to tweak my former legal name into a pen name, the mark of a queer rebel!

[My CV]

Translation

Into English, I translate from Thai, Isan, and Lao.
Into Thai and Isan, I translate from English and Spanish.

This year, I have honed my translation skills under the mentorship of Mui Poopoksakul in the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA)’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program. Read about my project to translate Jarupat Petcharawet’s Corvus here.

And click here to read about “Dissident Dreams,” my newest initiative as part of the 2023 cohort of the Democracy Discourse Series Public Intellectuals.


Late Absolute Monarchy Redux: Selections from Century-Old Newspapers
“Part 1: My Tax Money!”
“Part 2: Desperate Before the Law”
“Part 3: To Be Fair, Woman”
Siddhi-Issara Foundation, 2023


“Take Care, Sib: Letters from Prison to Ekkachai Hongkangwan”
Siddhi-Issara Foundation, 2023


“Worachet’s Hate Mail: Selections”
Siddhi-Issara Foundation, 2022


Five poems from Thailand, Protection International’s Human Rights Defenders Poetry Challenge, 2022.
“Madhumans Who Dare To Dream” by Songphon Sonthirak
“Remember, we’re all by your side” by Mek Krueng Fah (3rd Place Winner globally)
“What is human” by Hatairatt Jaturawatana
“Fix” by Prachya Pongpanich
“To Little Sia” by Jakraphong Soungchomphan


The Isan-language translation of El Llano en llamas by Juan Rulfo, published in 2018 by Aan (Read) Publishing.


The Thai edition of Conscientious Objection: Resisting Militarized Society, published in 2020 by Nisit Samyan Press. [Translation editor]


Into Thai, “Conjuring the People: Entrepreneurial Localism and the Case of the Khon Kaen Model” by Richard MacDonald, Way Magazine, 2021.
[Part 1 of Thai translation] [Part 2 of Thai translation]


Into English, “The Progress of Josef K.’s Trial and the Appearance of a Tiger Hornet” by Phu Kradat, Asymptote Journal’s Blog, 2021.


Into English, “A Wet-Garbage Kid’s Taamlie” by Prapt, Japan Foundation Asia Center’s Asian Literature Project “YOMU,” 2022.
[A short story set in a dystopian uber-Thai universe, exploiting Isan language in its dramatization of social inequality in a public health and political crisis.]

Into English, A Song of Forgiveness *Within* by Patiwat Saraiyaem. A selection of Isan performance poems penned in and out of prison. Above is a video reading of the title poem. Video courtesy of Tyrell Haberkorn from the final event of the translation workshop Public/Scholarship on Nov 18/19, 2020.

Published works from this project:
“The Bastille: A Molam’s Retelling” (with lyric video), The Siddhi-Issara Foundation, 2023.
“In Remembrance of Kru Krong Chandavong,” DinDeng, 2022.
•  “Lao Phaen, 11/4/2015”, Center For Southeast Asian Studies University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Justice in Translation Series, 2022.
•  “Beware of killers who blend in with caterpillars,” Mekong Review, 2021.


Starting in 2021, I run Sanam Ratsadon: An Archive of Common(er) Feelings which curates historic texts, art performances, and speeches in English translation.


For the theme “Mothers”: I translated two poems from the collection We subjects, as if mute and blind, have found ourselves at the end of the line (2011) by Arnon Nampa.


For the theme “Con-sti-ti-ti-ti-ti-tew-tion”:  I translated an excerpt from A Poem in Isan Explaining the Constitution of the Kingdom of Siam (1935) by Khun Phrom Prasart.


& “The First DIY Guy at the Democracy Monument”
Newspaper clippings from 1947 by Nowwanij Siriphatiwirut


For the theme “Madman, Madwoman, Madhuman”: I translated
“I’ll live out a hundred lifetimes, but they won’t have my forgiveness”
Two interviews with Patiwat Saraiyaem


For the theme “How Obscene‽”: I translated
“The Obscenity Case Against Ekkachai Hongkangwan”


“Against Feudal Obscenity”
Two articles by Intharayut


“the pickpocket who got in our pants”
A poem by Inthuch


& “A Deep Dive Into Elephant Cuntry”
A poem by unknown


For the theme “Yours Truly, Ratsadon” (co-edited with Tyrell Haberkorn): I translated
“A King Cobra and I”
An anecdote by Nontawat Machai


“Nausea”
A story by Nitipong Sumrankong


“Reader, You Know Best”
Poems by Chutchon Aj


& “Thai Universal Pronouns: A Failed Fascist Experiment and Its Queer Attraction”
Announcements by Field Marshal P. Phibulsongkhram and Khuang Aphaiwong

Writing

I write essays about Thai literature and politics from the vantage point of the Northeast. At times sentimental, other times hilarious. Often out of left field. Never the same.

Selected writings in English


“The Artivism of Incantations in Isan” The Jugaad Project, 2022.


“Ten Years of Being Thai” soi, 2022.


“How to Tell Stories Under Lèse Majesté? An Anonymized Novel Has Some Answers” Asymptote Blog, 2021.


“Heaven Doesn’t Divide—Why This Gulf?” New Mandala, 2021.


“The Law Ought To Be King” Boston Review, 2020.


“What to Say and What Not to Say to Isan People” Aan Online, 2019.


“Betraying my heritage: the riddles of Chinese and Lao” The Isaan Record, 2018.


“What’s so special about Isaan people writing in English? A review of Pira Sudham’s stories” The Isaan Record, 2017.


“Posing with the king’s body” New Mandala, 2017.


“In the wake of Yingluck’s departure: poetry as food for thought” The Isaan Record, 2017.


“My farang husband likes Isaan food, will he get cancer?” The Isaan Record, 2017.


“Esania Sector 9: Climate change fosters new Isaan writing” The Isaan Record, 2017.


“Juan Rulfo in Northeastern Thailand: Translation and Solidarity” Ensayo Premio Pensar a Contracorriente (Cuba), 2016


“What mushrooms tell us about Isaan’s ecological future” The Isaan Record, 2015.


“Chapter 1: Drunken Villagers and Hygienic Citizenship” from my undergraduate thesis in cultural anthropology, 2015.

For a fuller catalog of my writings, see:
– My dispatches on Thai and adjacent literatures on Asymptote Journal’s Blog
– My puzzle pieces on Aan Online retelling (mis)adventures in translation through Juan Rulfo’s El Llano en llamas and beyond
– My journalism on The Isaan Record in English and Thai (and sometimes Isan)
– My fun articles on The Matter (in Thai only)
– My political analyses on New Mandala (in English only)
– ควายแดงเดียวดาย, my book review blog during undergraduate years
ปลดกระฎุมพีระ :: Peera’s Public Bedroom, my repository of experimental prose and poems during high school and undergraduate years

Presentation

Despite my frantic public speaking, I have done a few presentations that are decent, all in Thai so far. The first one here retells my encounter and fascination with the Bible in Isan translation.

This second one introduces the listener to a hilarious period romance chat novel, set in an improbable Isan town with a cast of K-Pop idols, that may be able to teach us how to live in a land of cruel polygyny and palace intrigue.

This third one is a reading at the American Literary Translation Association conference of Jarupat Petcharawet’s “The Death of Nang Huang,” an Isan horror story that goes back to the history of war and displacement across the Mekong river.

Contact

I’m reachable by email at peera[dot]peesuke[at]gmail.com.