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National Artist Tomyantee on her life in letters and what she hopes to inspire with her words

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Recently crowned a National Artist and once voted Thailand's favourite novelist, Tomyantee is a recognisable name even to those who don't read novels. The recognition from the Ministry of Culture came with cheers but probably without surprise; it was only a matter of time before Tomyantee, a grand dame of letters who's been in poor health lately, was awarded the country's most prestigious artistic honour. 

Tawiphob (Two Worlds), Nai Fun (In Dreams), and Lued Khattiya (The Blue Blood) are just a few of Tomyantee's dozens of novels in all genres. But in her vast repertoire, Khoo Kam (An Ill-Fated Couple) is her most famous _ the story of a tragic love set during the chaos of World War II between a dignified Thai woman and a romantic Japanese soldier is a classic in the historical as well as popular sense _ and probably has the country's most film and TV remakes.

The story, translated into several foreign languages, is so real and emotional that even a Japanese television station once sent a production team to cover the story of fictitious Japanese hero Kobori and search for his yukata and samurai sword. The novel is being adapted for television again _ its first episode will air today, and next month another film version will be released.

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