‘17,000 islands of imagination’: discovering Indonesian literature

Media Clippings


This article mentions Eka Kurniawan Goenawan Mohamad Laksmi Pamuntjak Leila S. Chudori Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)
Written by Louise Doughty and was originally published in The Guardian.
May 28, 2016


In February last year, I was sitting in Cafe Batavia on Fatahillah Square in Jakarta, talking to an Indonesian friend. We were discussing how any novelist might describe a country to a readership who know nothing about it. We were surrounded by framed photos of Indonesian politicians and Hollywood stars, and the ceiling fans turned overhead. Outside, it was hot and overcast, and students milled around the front of the History Museum, built by the Dutch in 1710 and now housing objects from the founding of Jayakarta in 1527. How could any writer portray such a diverse culture?

My friend smiled wryly. “You only have the same problem as the rest of us,” he said. “Indonesia isn’t a nation. It’s an imagination.”

Read the full article here.