Lack of Modern Bhutanese Literature and the Emergence of New Media Writings

Szymon Żyliński

University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn


This paper focuses on the lack of modern Bhutanese literature in the Himalayan Kingdom that, for centuries, has remained in self-imposed isolation. Geographic obstacles in the form of nearly untraversable mountain passes inevitably aided in the formation of multiple languages and allowed for a lack of one specific unifying language; even though Dzongkha was declared the national language. The language dispersion, oral culture, introduction of English as a mean of instruction
at schools, lack of the concept of literature as perceived in the West, caused modern Bhutanese literature deficiency. With Bhutanese culture being predominantly oral, reading is not considered to be a form of pleasurable entertainment; it is perceived as a tedious process and most often associated with wearisome schoolwork. Among the handful of authors that managed to have their works printed and read, Kunzang Choden, playing a key role in 2008, published the first Bhutanese book written in English titled The Circle of Karma. Interestingly, most modern Bhutanese authors are women and have been known to occasionally make their writing debut at the ageof eleven.


Bhutan, literature, languages of Bhutan, Dzongkha, Bhutanese literature, new media

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Cited by

Żyliński, S. (2021). Lack of Modern Bhutanese Literature and the Emergence of New Media Writings. Media - Culture - Social Communication, 3(16), 93–109.

Szymon Żyliński 
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn