What Media Says

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

Jul 19, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Lala Bohang

Lala Bohang explores the feminine in the fantastical

Fresh off her residency in Berlin and Kassel, Germany, artist and author Lala Bohang said she originally applied two years prior, but did not receive the spot until a year later. “Those who know me would know I’m generally a slow person when it comes to new things, so applying for a residency outside Indonesia is really a brave move on my part,” she said in an Instagram Live session hosted by Goethe-Institut Indonesien. Hailing from Makassar, South Sulawesi, Lala has always been interested in fairy tales, as can be seen from her whimsical and fantastical illustrations. 
Jul 07, 2020 / New Mandala
on Tan Malaka

‘That damned elusive pimpernel: Tan Malaka and the Patjar Merah stories

The Indonesian Marxist and anti-colonial revolutionary Tan Malaka (1894-1949) exists in two forms, real and fictional. The real Tan Malaka was born around 1894 and had two spells at the forefront of Indonesian politics, first in the early 1920s, when he was a leader of the Communist Union of the Indies, and second during the Indonesian Revolution (1945-49), when he campaigned for a radical policy of social revolution and armed resistance against the Dutch. Between these two spells he spent twenty years in exile (1922-42), living for the most part under a variety of false identities in Siam, the Philippines, Singapore, and China.
May 12, 2020 / Options
on Intan Paramaditha

Author Q&A: Intan Paramaditha explores displacement, feminism and the road not taken in her choose-your-own adventure debut novel

In The Wandering, a young woman bored with teaching English in Jakarta, a city “full of thwarted suicidal urges”, makes a pact with her Demon Lover. He gives her a pair of red shoes that will take her wherever she wants to go — but the present comes with a curse. Intan Paramaditha’s debut novel was translated by Stephen J Epstein from the Indonesian edition titled Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu (2017) after it won two grants from international writers’ association PEN. It centres on borderlands and global nomadism, desire, mobility and displacement, the politics and privileges of travel, and how freedom and limitations tip the choices we make. Its protagonist remembers her mother’s warning — “bad girls go wandering” — but like the disobedient woman who gives in to an addiction, she grabs her options on a wing and a prayer as her red shoes click-clack across land and sea, from Indonesia to the US and Mexico, through dirt-filled streets, hotels, graveyards, nightspots, markets and mosques. En route, fellow travellers share gory, sorry stories.
Mar 05, 2020 / Asia House
on Intan Paramaditha

Author Q&A: Intan Paramaditha, The Wandering

The most ingenious and unusual novel you will read all year, where you choose your own story. You’ve grown roots, you’re gathering moss. You’re desperate to escape your boring life teaching English in Jakarta, to go out and see the world. So you make a Faustian pact with a devil, who gives you a gift, and a warning. A pair of red shoes to take you wherever you want to go. You’re forever wandering, everywhere and nowhere, but where is your home? And where will you choose to go? We caught up with Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha ahead of our event with her at Foyles on 31 March.
Mar 05, 2020 / Guardian, The
on Intan Paramaditha

Intan Paramaditha: ‘Travel was unattainable for me – I thought America only existed on TV’

"Onism”, according to John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (an online “fictionary” for ineffable feelings), is “the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die – and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.” Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha’s recent book The Wandering, a socially observant choose-your-own adventure novel, is the epitome of onism. Structured like one of the Choose Your Own Adventure series from the 1980s and 90s that Paramaditha read as a child, this novel is no gimmicky remake or nostalgic paean. Instead, Paramaditha adapts the form to serve her subject matter: travel, around which she draws questions of mobility, agency and representation into orbit.
Feb 29, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Nh. Dini

Google Doodle celebrates 84th birthday of literary legend NH Dini

Indonesian literary legend Nurhayati Sri Hardini Siti Nukatin, renowned as NH Dini, would have turned 84 on Saturday – an event commemorated with a Google Doodle. Illustrated by Jakarta-based artist Kathrin Honesta, the doodle has the prolific writer wearing glasses while filling pages upon pages of paper with words. According to Google’s Doodle page, NH Dini “grew up listening to her mother read stories from local magazines" and later became a famous author whose works mostly focused on gender issues as she was known to resist "the traditional role of women established by Javanese patriarchy".
Feb 29, 2020 / Google Doodles
on Nh. Dini

NH Dini’s 84th Birthday

Inspired by her international travels and relentless pursuit for women’s rights, Dini devoted her life to writing and published dozens of novels, short stories, and poems over her 60-year career. Through works such as “Pada Sebuah Kapal” (“On a Ship,” 1985), and “Namaku Hiroko” (“My Name Is Hiroko,” 1986), Dini’s fiction continues to empower women today. Here’s to a writer whose words live on in the hearts and minds of readers around the world.
Feb 02, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Angelina Enny

Winternachten literary festival and the art of decolonization

Former Dutch colonies are the focus at Winternachten in The Hague, one of the Netherlands’ biggest literary festivals. “Again, your excellency, we are in 1939, and just as your parliament expressed expectations that it would take at least another century before Indonesians are ready for independence, I am also voicing my expectations that before the end of the next decade, and most likely after a regrettably bloody independence struggle, I will be sitting at the same table with your Queen to discuss the independence of my country and my people.” This imaginary letter from Mohammad Hatta, who at the time was jailed in Banda Naira and later became Indonesia’s first vice president, to then-Dutch prime minister Henrikus Colijn, was penned by Dutch author Reggie Baay.  
Jan 26, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao: Giving outsiders a voice

Growing up, Tiffany Tsao was never in one place long enough to call it home. Her nomadic upbringing had her and her family living in the United States, Singapore and Indonesia and being an American citizen of Indonesian-Chinese descent, she not only found it difficult to establish a physical home, but a cultural one as well. Whenever anyone asked where she was from, she did not know exactly how to respond. “I had to decide what kind of answer to give — the short story or the longer one,” Tiffany told The Jakarta Post via email. “Did I want to explain that I was technically a US citizen? Or that my parents were both ethnic Chinese, but more specifically, part of the Chinese diaspora to Indonesia?”
Jan 16, 2020 / Asymptote
on Putu Oka Sukanta

Putu Oka Sukanta and the Hidden Wounds of World History

Putu Oka Sukanta does not fit the western image of a celebrated author. The writer lives in a simple house, tucked away on a surprisingly calm alley in industrial East Jakarta. He receives journalists and fellow writers in his home and writing space, which doubles as a traditional medicine organization and an acupuncture studio. It is not the kind of office with book-lined shelves and a large desk piled high with papers and poetic scraps; instead, herbal treatments line the counter by the front door and a large acupuncture table dwarfs a simple writing desk. I visited Putu Oka shortly after his eightieth birthday to ask the author for reflections on his literary career. He gave me a firm handshake when I sat down across from him. “So what is it that you need from me?” His question, straightforward and gentle, could almost have been an inquiry about a health issue rather than the beginning of my interview. It may have been a little bit of both. Prolific but under-recognized, Putu Oka writes so as to heal his nation’s collective trauma. His representations of personal experiences as a political prisoner address painful histories that Indonesia has too long kept quiet. And for foreign readers, his texts have the potential to act as a multifaceted diagnosis of the country’s complex past and present.