What Media Say

Indonesian writers as seen on English/foreign-language media. See also Media Clippings.

Nov 10, 2007 / The Jakarta Post
on Korrie Layun Rampan (1953-2015)

Korrie Layun Rampan: Kalimantan wordsmith turns politician

Three years of working as a politician in his homeland of West Kutai, East Kalimantan, has not let the attention of novelist Korrie Layun Rampan, one of the nation’s most well known short story writers ...
Jul 30, 2007 / Inside Indonesia
on Y. B. Mangunwijaya (1929-1999)

Romo Mangun

Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya was born on 6 May 1929 in Ambarawa, Central Java, from Catholic parents. At the age of sixteen, during the revolution for independence from the Dutch, he joined the Student Army. The troops' callousness towards the villagers shocked him. In 1950, after hearing a speech by Major Isman about the harmful effects of the revolution on civilians, he decided to repay his debt by serving the people as a priest.
Jul 22, 2007 / Inside Indonesia
on Mochtar Lubis (1922-2004)

Mochtar Lubis

By any measure, Mochtar Lubis was impressive. A mostly self-educated Mandailinger, he was tall, handsome, urbane, and articulate in several languages. Always controversial, Mochtar was one of Indonesia’s most respected journalists and best-known authors for over four decades.
Jul 14, 2007 / Inside Indonesia
on Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)

Writing to the world

With the death of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, world literature mourns one of its greatest writers. Within Indonesia and internationally, obituaries, memorials, and reflections have already awarded him the posthumous recognition as a writer of world literature that was denied him during his lifetime, in the form of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It will take much longer, however, to come to terms with the full significance of Pramoedya’s achievements, from the early stories about the period of the Indonesian independence struggle up to the monumental historical novels that emerged from the period of his internment on Buru Island under Suharto’s New Order. Encompassing both the formation and the dismantling of Third World revolutionary nationalism, Pramoedya’s personal, literary, and historical experience registers the seismic shock-effects of twentieth century decolonisation.
Apr 01, 2007 / J STOR
on Ayu Utami

Reading Ayu Utami: Notes toward a Study of Trauma and the Archive in Indonesia

Evaluating postcolonial novels as situated testimonies, this essay looks at the way violence and trauma haunt Indonesian historical and literary archives in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. I show how literary works offer ...
Mar 18, 2007 / South China Morning Post
on Laksmi Pamuntjak

Laksmi’s international musings frame the colour of Indonesian life

It's easy to think that writing literature is merely Laksmi Pamuntjak's latest quest in life. After all, she has transformed herself from being a classical pianist to a political columnist, food critic and founder of a chic English-language bookstore in Jakarta. Yet the Indonesian author, who writes in English, has created quite a literary buzz. Laksmi's work sets her apart from many young Indonesian authors. The 35-year-old delves into a vast range of topics: food, music, politics and mythology, from culinary and cultural critique, to fine art and fiction.
Jun 17, 2006 / Qantara
on Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)

Indonesian Author Leaves Blueprint for Pluralism

Pramoedya Ananta Toer, once considered Asia’s most promising candidate for a Nobel Prize in literature, has recently died, aged 81, still unknown to many in his homeland. The great writer is now in danger of ...
May 20, 2006 / The Jakarta Post
on Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)

Pramoedya and the rebirth of national culture

It was an amazing experience to translate the works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, to have had to think deeply about what he wrote, to discuss with him the situation in Indonesia. I translated This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass in the 1980s. Recently I have just finished translating his The Chinese in Indonesia and Arok Dedes, both of which will be published this year. I am in the process of completing my own book, People Power, the Fall of Suharto and Indonesian History which is partly inspired by his analysis of Indonesian history.
May 16, 2006 / The Sydney Morning Herald
on Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)

Man of letters and revolution

IN THE days before Indonesia's greatest novelist, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, died, text messages and emails had warned that he was seriously ill. Many readers gathered at his hospital bed and later his home where they sang songs of struggle or prayed.
May 10, 2006 / Green Left Weekly
on Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006)

Pramoedya Ananta Toer: Indonesia’s greatest novelist

Scores of activists and young writers, as well as family members, were at the Karet Bivak cemetery in central Jakarta on April 30. Many were crying, tearful. The loss was felt greatly, a burden. But they rallied their spirits to also sing songs of struggle to farewell the man who they had just laid to rest: Pramoedya Ananta Toer. They sang the Internationale and they sang that most moving of all songs that grew up during the struggle against the 1966-98 Suharto military dictatorship: Darah joang ("Blood of the struggle").