Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron noted that book printing is on the rise, including books about self-development and professional skills, particularly novels that give multiple options for young readers, which is completely different from a decade ago.

Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron on Saturday said the number of books being read is on the rise from a decade ago, with those on self-development, the acquiring of professional skills and novels for the young particularly popular.

The minister was speaking at a 5th National Reading Day event at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh on Saturday.

“The books we’ve seen printed the most are novels for young adults, and there are also plenty of young authors. What we want to further improve and push is the printing of books that involve research on Cambodia, which remains limited,” he said.

“We’ve seen that the number of books and book catalogues are currently not nearly enough to attract Khmer-language readers. They haven’t attracted young adults to read Cambodian language books. We must boost these numbers.”

People attending the 5th National Reading Day Celebration browse through Khmer language books. SUPPLIED

Naron said there were many novels but no evaluations as to which genre of literature or writers were the most popular. To push reading there must be different evaluation programmes put in place as well as competitions established for writers at least once a year.

“We want to encourage [authors] to write about Khmer culture and civilisation, but the issue is that writing is not profitable because there are few readers. We need to encourage people to read,” he said, adding that he had called on universities to create research foundations on the Cambodian language, literature and civilisation.

“The Ministry of Education wants authors to develop national literature, not only for them to produce bestsellers. We want the spirit that unites Cambodians at the core of their work,” he said.

Khmer Writer Association deputy director Lek Chumnor noted that there had been a recent revival in Cambodian literature due to a surge in appreciation.