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Youth of the week: Im Rachna


Im Rachna loves going on adventures, both in books and in the real world. She hopes that other people will join her by reading her stories SUPPLIED

Reading started as a hobby, but 19-year-old Im Rachna’s passion for books became a potential career as a writer, as she is now the youngest member of the Khmer Writer’s Association. The association has helped shape her talent with words and allowed her to become familiar with a variety of forms, including short stories, novels and poems.

Rachna was born in Svay Rieng province but moved to Phnom Penh to continue her studies at the Beltei International Institute from the age of about nine. She performed well in her studies, especially Khmer literature, and in 2008 was named the National Khmer Literature Outstanding Student ranked at number five when she was in grade 12. After she graduated, she was given a scholarship to study law at the Royal University of Law and Economics and paid to study English literature at Norton University.

Becoming an author was just a coincidence, she said. The motivation to become a writer was reading. She said she loved reading since she was small. Starting with comics and then novels, she gradually fell in love with the beauty of writing. “It’s magical. You will never know why those little letters in the book made you cry and sometimes laugh at the same time,” she said.

She also added that well known Cambodian author Mao Samnang once told her: “You can write because you read a lot.” Since she had been reading for so long, she decided to give writing a try. “If they can do it, I too can do it too,” she said.

She started writing in 2006 when she was 14 and she finished a 100 plus page novel called Hatred is love in only one month, but it has not been published until now because she preferred that her published books should be ones that have an educational value rather than a love story.

Because she is a member of the Khmer Youth Writers Group, one of her works, a novel called Message Lak Sne, was selected to be published in Love Diary, a collection of love stories, in 2008.

She has written many short stories, novels and poems that have not been published so far, but she plans to publish them when she gets some free time from her studies. However, most of her works, which have an education value or are critical and call for a better society, are available on her blog: rainnamail.wordpress.com.

Her talent and commitment made her a candidate for the Ship for South East Asian Youth Program 2010, and she also won an award in a short drama contest on climate change organised by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and the British Embassy in 2009. She has also attended several training courses such as IYF (International Youth Fellowship) World Camp Cambodia, the People Health Development Association Conference dealing with young people’s sexual relationships, and the Cambodia Center for Independent Media’s climate change related writing course. She is also an editor for La Reine magazine in charge of the fashion and lifestyle sections.

Rachna says writing is her main interest and she puts a lot of effort into it. She is very proud of her work because her writing has been accepted and loved. In her point of view, writing is a wonderful thing that records and reflects real people’s lives. Once something has been written and published, people read it, remember it and learn from it. It gives them a better choice for a better future. She says that to be a success one must have a dream and strive for it no matter how difficult it is as long as you really want to achieve it.

In the future, Rachna want to open her own restaurant, but she will never lose her interest in writing.

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