Finding literary treasures on the sidewalk
Street side university
The corner Pansodan and Merchant has been a book market since the 1950s. Popularly known as the ‘street-side university’, back in the days the market was a meeting point for intellectuals, artists and historians and it was not uncommon to bump into a famous poet or writer while roaming the stalls.
Despite all the construction going on, even today the book trade is still very much alive. Sellers display their books on rickety wooden shelves or cardboard boxes on the ground. Some of it would classify as literary rubble, but they’re some interesting titles hidden between the piles of old, new and copied books and magazines. Books aren’t priced so there’s a nice excuse to strike up a highbrow conversation or a good haggle.
Good to know
Beware! Books are often photocopied in Yangon. If you want to support authors and publishers, head to a bookshop and buy the original.