Media Clippings


A compilation of every mention of Indonesian writers, written on English/foreign-language media. See also What Media Say.


The Problem With Promoting Indonesian Literature Abroad?: A Simplistic White Gaze

Mar 05, 2019 / Jakarta Globe by Theodora Sarah Abigail
Many foreigners hold a mental image of a primitive Indonesia that is full of slums and dirty rivers and piles of garbage. They imagine, at best, the bamboo huts, the rice paddies and pastoral scenes. The Indonesia filtered, then presented by foreign translators and well-meaning international organizations has been selected to compound this image of a provincial country, one fragranced with nose-biting spices and jasmine blooms. But Indonesian writers tell a more expansive story. In their books, Indonesia is rich with bustling, vibrant cities, glass airports, museums full of art. The cities burst with becak and kopaja and buses and trains; every minute a plane leaves an airport. People fall in love in a grand mall, fall to their knees in a mosque; they fall out of love in a coffee shop. Families dance until night falls, and the people are not so different from you and I.

Where are all the Indonesian writers?

Feb 22, 2019 / National Centre for Writing by Pamela Allen
While it is now generally unfashionable to speak of a literary “canon,” when a translator comes to selecting works for translation into another language, that process inevitably involves making judgements about what is good literature and writing, which often then leads to the kind of ranking that is the basis of canon-making. It is a process that was faced by Lontar, the Jakarta-based foundation and publishing house, when, in the Modern Library of Indonesia project headed up by John McGlynn, it set itself the goal of both “preserving nearly-forgotten classics of Indonesian literature” and presenting them, often for the first time in English, to an international audience. Books in the Library range from titles such as the 1922 classic Sitti Nurbaya by Marah Rusli (trans. by George A. Fowler), a powerful depiction of the tension between tradition and modernity in the East Indies, to Leila S. Chudori’s 2012 novel Home (trans. by John McGlynn), a story about the tragedy of political exiles during Suharto’s regime (1965-1998) who were forced out of Indonesia after the 1965 massacre of presumed leftists and sympathisers.

PEN Translates autumn 2018 awards announced

Dec 18, 2018 / English PEN by Theodora Danek
A diverse list of books make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners. These include new novels by László Krasznahorkai and Marie Darrieussecq; the debut short story collection by politician Selahattin Demirtaş, currently imprisoned in Turkey; a memoir by legendary Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman; Spanish poetry for children; as well as novels from Bosnia, the Comoros Islands, and Indonesia.

Jakarta Arts Council names winners of novel-writing contest

Dec 06, 2018 / Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ) has announced the winners of Sayembara Novel DKJ (DKJ Novel Writing Contest) 2018, which was held on Tuesday at Teater Kecil of the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) cultural center in Central Jakarta. Felix K. Nesi, author of Orang-Orang Oetimu (Oetimu People), was named the winner and received a cash prize of Rp 20 million ($1389). Ahmad Mustafa, who penned Anak Gembala yang Tertidur Panjang di Akhir Zaman (The Shepherd who Oversleeps an Era), was named the runner-up and granted Rp 15 million ($1042), while the writer of Balada Supri (The Ballad of Supri), Mochammad Nasrullah, came third and brought home a prize of Rp 10 million ($695).

Indie bookstores emphasize curation

Jul 23, 2018 / Jakarta Post
Scores of literature enthusiasts and artists crowded the newly renovated hall of Aksara bookstore in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Saturday evening as the retailer celebrated its recent collaboration with Post Santa Bookshop, also based in South Jakarta, to focus on alternative literature and serve as a community center. “Today marks a very important milestone. Aksara has officially switched gears to prioritize books by authors from the alternative literature scene, which has notably gained traction as of late,” Aksara creative director Aninda Simanjuntak said.

Dee Lestari, Hanif Kureishi among speakers at upcoming UWRF

Jul 17, 2018 / Jakarta Post
Bali's 2018 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) has announced its line up of speakers, which, among others, features writer Dewi "Dee" Lestari, often touted as a pioneer of modern Indonesian literature, and Balinese litterateur behind the Kelas Cerpen Kompas (Kompas Short Story Class), Putu Fajar Arcana. As reported by Antara news agency, UWRF is slated for Oct. 24-28. Another guest confirmed is Haidar Bagir, a writer, philanthropist and founder of one of Indonesia's largest publishers, Mizan Group. Haidar recently received the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award after holding an interfaith dialogue, according to a press release.

Balai Pustaka, TVRI to make ‘Siti Nurbaya’ television series

Jul 05, 2018 / Jakarta Post
Marah Rusli's classic novel Siti Nurbaya is set to grace the small screen, as state-owned publisher Balai Pustaka and television station TVRI get working on a modern adaptation with the aim of reintroducing the tale about arranged marriage to millennials. Speaking during the inauguration of the Istana Peradaban (Palace of Civilization) at Balai Pustaka's headquarters in Jakarta earlier this week, the publishing company's president director Achmad Fachrodji said both parties were still discussing story ideas in order to suit today's audience, which he said was dominated by millennials.

A writer’s festival in Makassar: The secret to its success — people power!

May 09, 2018 / Personal Blog by Jan Cornall
It’s been a while since I attended a festival in Indonesia. Last decade I was a regular visitor to Java, taking part in Utan Kayu Bienale, (Jakarta, Bandung, Lampung) Salihara Biennale( Jakarta), Perfurbance (Jogjakarta) and Mata Air (Salitiga). When I told aussie friends I was going to attend MIWF, a writer’s festival in Makassar, many replied, where’s that?

Writers’ Series 2018 encourages creation of positive narrations

May 06, 2018 / Jakarta Post
The annual Writers' Series held by The Jakarta Post Writing Center returns for the third time this weekend. Running two days until May 6, the first day of the event, which was a mini conference, took place in the Upper Room, Annex Building, Central Jakarta. Meanwhile, the second day will host a premium workshop at the Post’s office in Palmerah, West Jakarta.

Literature plays crucial role as Indonesia enters 20th year of reformation

May 04, 2018 / Jakarta Post by Keshie Hernitaningtyas
As Indonesia celebrates its 20th year of reformation this year, literature plays a crucial role in reminding us of the importance of learning from history, says University of Indonesia cultural science professor Melani Budianta. “The reformation may still feel new for some people, yet it has changed [many things] rapidly that we need to look back to process it. Learning from history is very important so that we don’t forget what we are fighting for and make the same mistakes all over again. Why literature? Because it has the potential to open our imagination; allowing us to imagine something outside of what exists today,” said Melani during a discussion themed “20 Years of Reform”, among the events at the Makassar International Writers Festival that took place at Makassar Muhammadiyah University on Thursday.