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Silkworm Books was founded in 1987 and published its first book in 1991. It was the vision of Trasvin Jittidecharak, who wanted to establish an international publishing house based in her hometown of Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. Silkworm Books specialized, from the outset, in producing quality English-language books on Southeast Asia and has since developed into an internationally recognized and highly regarded publisher of excellent books in history, political science, anthropology, and many other fields of study, all centered around the culture and society of Southeast Asia.
In 2005, Silkworm Books founded Mekong Press with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2007, Mekong Press was registered as a nonprofit organization designed to encourage and support the work of local scholars, writers, and publishing professionals in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the other countries in the Greater Mekong sub-region. Mekong Press also holds seminars and training workshops on different aspects of book publishing, and helps find ways to overcome some of the huge challenges faced by small book publishers in Southeast Asia.
Despite its growth and international presence, the foundations on which Silkworm was built are the same today as they were twenty-five years ago: to bring high-quality Western scholarship on Southeast Asia to the region, and likewise, to make Southeast Asian scholarship on the region as accessible as possible to people around the world.
About Silkworm Books
Silkworm Books is a publishing company based in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It is committed to producing well-researched and beautifully designed books, across a wide range of genres relating to Southeast Asia. While primarily focusing on publications in English, the press also eagerly presents Thai books and translations to the public, with the aim of bridging the knowledge gap and fostering scholarship and creativity across international and cultural lines.
Silkworm stands at the forefront of Southeast Asia’s publishing industry, in initiating creative ventures, developing innovative partnerships, and taking a principled stand, not only on what to publish, but also on issues of knowledge and freedom. Silkworm is a member of PUBAT, and consistently works to challenge other publishers by acting as a model of excellent book publication in the region, in terms of the depth and variety of scholarship, editorial thoroughness, and the quality of creative design.
Silkworm Books aims to be known for its integrity, honesty, and fairness in the treatment of authors, staff, and readers, and aspires to raise the standards of Southeast Asian publishing by sharing both its experience and its expertise with the wider regional publishing industry.
In addition to books in English, Silkworm publishes a wide selection of Thai titles consisting of translated and original work, ranging from academic texts and fiction, to graphic novels. The press has received attention for publishing translations of high-quality works from the world market and unusual titles rarely seen in Thailand. Situated in northern Thailand, Silkworm values and cultivates local scholars in the field, and its list of northern Thai studies books has been recognized nationwide.
Trasvin Jittidecharak (ตรัสวิน จิตติเดชารักษ์)
Silkworm Books, 6 Sukkasem Road, T. Suthep, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Tel. +66 53 22 61 61 • Fax +66 53 22 66 43 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trasvin Jittidecharak is from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She began learning the art of the book trade from a very young age when her parents founded the Suriwong Book Center, the first bookstore in Thailand outside of Bangkok.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in publication design from Parsons School of Design in New York, and has since attended the Stanford Publishing Course for Professionals as well as a publishing training course offered by the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Trasvin was active in promoting reading among children between 1986–1991. She supported the Mobile Library project. She started a children’s magazine, Dinosarn, but later left the partnership, and the magazine was discontinued in 1993.
In 1991 Trasvin founded Silkworm Books, a general, independent publisher of English-language books on Thailand and Southeast Asia. Silkworm Books has a reputation for editorial quality. It is the only Thai publisher that distributes its publications in North America and the UK, through an agreement with the University of Washington Press. It is also collaborating with the prestigious École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) on a new series that brings French research on Asia to an English-language readership. Silkworm has published work by many high-profile authors, among them Prof. Grant Evans, Prof. Pasuk Phongpaichit, Dr. Chris Baker, Dr. Dhiravat na Pombej, and Dr. Prapod Assavavirulhakarn. In 2010 it published its magnum opus, The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen, the translation of a famous Thai classical folk tale of 1,500 pages.
In 2005, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, Trasvin founded Mekong Press, later Mekong Press Foundation, in 2008, in order to support publishing activities in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and to establish a network of publishers in the region. Besides publishing works by local writers, Trasvin has organized workshops on copyediting in Laos and Cambodia, on copyrights for state-owned publishers in Vietnam, and on the process of publishing for Vietnamese underground publishers.
Trasvin has served as a resource person in book design and publishing at both national and regional levels for organizations such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, UNESCO (Regional Office in Karachi), and the British Council (Bangkok office). She has served as a judge for a number of national publication design competitions, and since 1989 has been actively supporting adherence to copyright law in Thailand. In 2008 she became a member of the International Publishers Association’s Freedom to Publish Committee and has become one of its most active members.
Trasvin has served as an advisor to the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT) since 2009. In 2011, as PUBAT representative, Trasvin, joined Bangkok Read for Life Group and successfully campaigned for Bangkok’s designation as UNESCO World Book Capital 2013. The city of Bangkok subsequently appointed her to serve on the Bangkok World Book Capital steering committee as the international focal person for the Bangkok World Book Capital 2013. Most recently, she was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the International Publishers Association (IPA) for 2012–14.