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Bewitched By Burma

Little Melton author Anne Carter has been Bewitched by Burma for almost nine decades. Now she has turned memories of the country and its history into a book. 

“Bewitched by Burma” sees Anne covering the period in the country’s history from the days of the British Raj to the granting of full independence after the Japanese conflict. 

The book is full of personal memories, letters and details of the challenges facing Anglican missionaries in a predominantly Buddhist country. Anne’s father was one such missionary and she was born in Burma in 1924 and lived there for the first eight years of her life. 

“The book is based on largely unpublished letters and diaries written by Anglican missionaries during the first half of the 20th century. When I came to writing the book I realised just how much I personally remembered from those early years,” she said. 

Anne was prompted to write “Bewitched by Burma” after returning to the country in 2007 and finding it very much as she had remembered: 

“My three sons took me back and we received a fantastic welcome everywhere we went. It appeared to me that whilst the western world had moved on, Burma hadn’t really moved forward. They were still driving cars from the late 1940s, the railways and electricity only worked intermittently and women were filling in pot holes on the roads with stones. Most of the early church records had disappeared during the war with Japan. I was asked if I could write a history of the early church in Burma. Then my brother found a box in his attic containing letters written by my father in the 1920s and 1930s,” she said.   

Anne’s father became a missionary in Burma at the age of 30. The holder of a double first from Cambridge University, he was responsible for translating the Bible into Burmese script. He spent much of his retirement updating and correcting the Burmese Bible which the family have now had re-printed. Anne has many other links with Burma, which is now primarily known as Myanmar, including a late husband who served with the army there. 

The visit and the letters proved the catalyst Anne needed to burst into print, although it took her three years to research and complete the book which is published by Matador. 

“I had always wanted to write about the country. It was rich in rice, vegetables, rubies, oil and petroleum but had shut itself off from the rest of the world for 60 years and become one of the poorest countries in the world. Burma should have the ability to be one of the richest. People lived in fear of the military regimes that controlled the country,” Anne said adding that the work towards democracy undertaken by people such as Aung San Suu Kyi has been a revelation. 

“It will be a very bumpy road but Aung San Suu Kyi is one of my great heroines for what she has achieved.” 

Anne came to Norfolk in 1949 as one of the county’s first full-time women probation officers. She has lived in Little Melton since 1997 and been responsible for a number of local books and publications including three text books for the Girl Guides’ Association and acting as editor for a book on the history of Little Melton. 

Any profit from the Burma books will go towards the Burma Children’s Fund which supports mainly orphans in the country which is now known primarily as Myanmar. 

Copies of the book are available at £9.99 direct from Anne on 01603 810266 or via anne.carter4@virgin.net. It is also available from local book sellers or from the publishers at www.troubador.co.uk. An electronic version is also available from the Amazon Kindle Store.