Kanokphong Songsomphan (1966 – February 2006) was a Thai writer. He was the winner of the S.E.A. Write Award for Thailand in 1996 for his collection of short stories, Phaendin Uen (Another Land). His name is sometimes transliterated as Kanogpong Songsompuntu.
His other major work was Saphan Khard (The Broken Bridge), which was translated into Japanese.
Early life, education
Kanokphong completed his primary education at Wat Pikulthong School and his secondary education at Phatthalung School. He published his first poem, Khwamjing Thee Pen Pai (The Truth That Is), at age 15 in a local newspaper. By age 18, he was one of the co-founders of the Nakhon Group, a local panel of academics and writers dedicated to conserving culture and literature in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The group evolved into a publishing company.
He published his first short story, Duj Tawan An Joedja (Like the Burning Sun), in Matichon Weekly. Several more short stories appeared in various magazines.
He attended Prince of Songkla University, studying management science, but dropped out to further develop his writing by travelling in the Luang mountains and learning about the local cultures there.
Collected works, awards
His first collection of poetry, Pa Namkhang (Forest of Dewdrops) was published in 1988. It was followed in 1989 by a collection of short stories, Saphan Khad (The Broken Bridge). It won the Karaked Laurel Award and was translated into Japanese in 1990.
In 1996, another short story, Lok Bai Lek Khong Salman (The Small World of Salman) also won the Karaked Laurel Award, making Kanokphong the first to win the award twice.
His second collection of short stories, Khon Bai Liang Diew (The Monocotyledon Man) was published in 1992.
Kanokphong's third collection, Phaendin Un (The Other Land) won the S.E.A. Write Award in 1996. One of the stories, Maew Haeng Bukeh Krue Saw (The Cat of Bukeh Krue Saw) about a group of soldiers sent to protect a village, but tragedy occurs and the soldiers are forced to withdraw. Kanokphong said the collection was a summation of the conflicts in Southern Thailand.
From 1996, Kanokphong lived in the "Valley of Rains and Forest" in Amphoe Phrom Khiri, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. He retreated from being active on the literary scene, but eventually issued his last collection of short stories, Loke Moon Rob Tua-eng (The World Revolves Around Itself).
Another book was forthcoming, but Kanokphong was in poor health. Fellow S.E.A. Write laureate Thanya Sanyapantanont said Kanokphong's working habits during this period were "an attempt at self immolation".
In February 2006, Kanokphong was admitted to Nakharin Hospital for treatment of influenza. He was discharged but later readmitted, where he succumbed to a severe lung infection. Funeral services were held at Wat Pikulthong in Phattalung.
- The Nation. February 16, 2006. "Seawrite winner succumbs to flu" (retrieved October 10, 2006).
- Muangsuk, Nattrawut. February 18, 2006. "The last story", Bangkok Post, Outlook, Page 03 (print edition; online copy is archived for subscribers only)