Nou Korn, The Author of "Teav Ek"​

Nou Korn (1874 - 1947)

According to the 20th Century Khmer Literature by Dr. King Hoody, Nou Korn was the first person to use the word “Brolomlok” or “Novel”.

Nou Korn was born in 1875 in Ang Ta Som Commune, Tram Kak District, Takeo Province. His parents were farmers.

At age 9, Mr. Nou Kan remained inside a pagoda and studied with monks. Later, he became a monk. After he left the seminary, he worked as a clerk for the Governor of Traing province and entered the Royal Palace in 1891.

In 1903, the French authorities appointed him as the Governor of Kampong Siem province for 2 years while he was also working as a teacher for law and Khmer culture. The French then had him go to finish his education in France. Once his education was completed, he returned to Cambodia and held multiples positions, including Governor of Steung Treng, a duke, the director of court, and others. Nou Korn, then, retired in 1931.

He was a famous poet and a government official in the late 20th century. He had left behind many valuable works, the most well-known one is “Teav Ek.” Many had confused this with the story “Tom Teav” and accused him of plagiarism. However, he had explained himself that he did not plagiarize. The motivation behind this story came from what he had heard singers sang to King Norodom. 

Besides this novel, he had also written many others. These novels include “Tong Chhin,” “Sam Kok” and others.

Nou Korn died in 1947, but his works remain influential to the Khmer literature. 

By: Moeun Kimyan