What Media Says

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

Dec 09, 2019 / Asymptote
on Ayu Utami

Personal Histories, Sexual Politics: An Interview with Ayu Utami

Jakarta in the 1990s was bubbling with new ideas of freedom. During the third decade of Suharto’s military dictatorship in Indonesia, punks met on the streets that soldiers patrolled. Cafés and bars pulsed with the energy of youth movements. Quality journalism found ways to wriggle its way around censorship, both official and communal. And when writers couldn’t get past the strict barriers imposed by military rule, they still circulated their critical narratives by donning pen names or disguising fact as fiction. Ayu Utami was one of the journalists blacklisted from publishing openly in the late 1990s. A member of the group of artists and intellectuals that established Komunitas Utan Kayu, Jakarta’s first space dedicated to art and free expression under military rule, she nevertheless continued to publish her reportage anonymously. Only weeks before participating in the student movement that would pull Suharto from power, she also released her first novel, Saman, which caused massive controversy—in part because of its serendipitous timing, but also because of its uninhibited treatment of taboo topics, both political and sexual.
Dec 05, 2019 / Antara
on Laksmi Pamuntjak

Laksmi Pamuntjak releases third novel

Laksmi Pamuntjak, a prominent Indonesian author, released her third novel, 'Fall Baby', presenting a multi-theme of women, visual art, history and identity. Fall Baby tells the story of two women – Srikandi (Siri) and Dara, one a globetrotting visual artist, the other a human rights activist.
Oct 28, 2019 / Qantara
on Feby Indirani

Interview with author and feminist Feby Indirani: “God is my partner in crime”

Described by some as a Muslim feminist, Feby Indirani’s writing is daring and light-hearted at once. Her collection of short stories – "Bukan Perawan Maria" – recently translated into Italian, parodies the inconsistencies of radical Islam and orthodoxy, while seeking to emphasise the humanity we all share. Interview by Naima Morelli
Oct 10, 2019 / Jakarta Post
on Eka Kurniawan

Eka Kurniawan turns down award from Education and Culture Ministry

Renowned Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan revealed that he had turned down an award from the Education and Culture Ministry. Established in 2012, the Cultural Awards and Traditional Art Maestro Awards will be given to 59 recipients from eight categories this year. Among the recipients are late comedian Djudjuk Srimulat, composer Purwa Tjaraka, singer Rose Pandanwangi and artist Amrus Nastalsya.
Sep 07, 2019 / Jakarta Globe
on Leila S. Chudori

Writer Leila Chudori Launches Literary Podcast

Writer Leila Salikha Chudori rolls out a new literary podcast called "Coming Home With Leila Chudori" to encourage more Indonesians to read serious literature. Leila, 56, a journalist and novelist, streams the pre-taped podcast every Wednesday. The first episode aired on Aug. 21.
Jul 19, 2019 / Jakarta Post
on Arswendo Atmowiloto

Literary figure and senior journalist Arswendo Atmowiloto dies at 70

Literary figure and senior journalist Arswendo Atmowiloto, known for his work Keluarga Cemara, has died at age 70 due to prostate cancer. Arswendo was born in Surakarta, Central Java, on Nov. 26, 1948. He was known as a fiction and nonfiction writer as well as journalist at Kompas daily and Hai magazine. The director and screenwriter of the film version of Keluarga Cemara, Gina S. Noer, said she was surprised by the passing of the artist, saying, “I owed much to Arswendo, he was the person that influenced me in making art […] he was a person that gave freedom to new creators.”
Jun 29, 2019 / Jakarta Post
on Feby Indirani

Feby Indirani: The importance of being honest

When Feby Indirani was a young girl, writing helped her to put things in perspective and make sense of everything that happened around her – from keeping a diary to penning poems and short stories to eventually joining the school paper as a teenager. At 17 years old, she was the runner-up in a writing competition held by a national teen magazine. “I think that was the first time I realized that writing could be more than just a hobby,” she recalls. “After finishing high school, I didn’t really know what major to choose – all I knew was my love for writing, and so I decided to study journalism, which I thought was closest to writing, and then I fell in love with journalism as well.” Feby soon realized she didn’t have to choose one or the other.
Jun 10, 2019 / Asymptote
on Tiffany Tsao

All of What It Could Be: In Conversation with Tiffany Tsao

When reading a new book in translation, I usually begin by reading the translator’s note. Although it is customary to print the translator’s note at the end of any translated work, I find it enriches my reading to know in advance how the translator approached and connected with the text, to understand their particular choices and challenges. But while translator’s notes often reveal a profound intimacy with the original text, I have rarely read a translator’s note as unapologetically impassioned and moving as the paean Tiffany Tsao wrote for Norman Pasaribu’s award-winning collection of poems, Sergius Seeks Bacchus. Tsao’s translator’s note calls Pasaribu and the collection a “miracle” and describes how working on the translation of Sergius Seeks Bacchus was transformative for both translator and author. “Norman’s poems,” Tsao writes, “have become a part of and spring from me as well,” adding, “I don’t think that I can ever go back to be being the person that I was before.” Through the translation of Sergius Seeks Bacchus from the Indonesian, Tsao and Pasaribu have forged a partnership that is intellectually energizing and dripping with creative charisma. After reading Pasaribu’s vibrant poems, Tsao’s exceptional translator’s note, and following the two on social media as they successfully toured the UK, I was raring to speak with former Asymptote Editor-at-large, Tiffany Tsao. Amongst other things, Tsao was generous enough to share more about the “mutually nurturing” relationship she has developed with Pasaribu, and how Sergius Seeks Bacchus, published in the UK by Tilted Axis Press and forthcoming in Australia from Giramondo, has come to belong to both of them.
May 31, 2019 / National Centre for Writing
on Reda Gaudiamo

Reda Gaudiamo on writing for children

Kate Griffin talks to Indonesian writer and nationally renowned singer Reda Gaudiamo about the step-by-step process of translating her latest children’s book Na Willa into English, as well as turning well-loved Indonesian poems into songs for children. Reda stayed in the writer’s cottage on the Dragon Hall campus throughout March 2019 as part of a writing residency. While she was in Norwich, Reda visited local schools and led a special family event at the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library. Her residency was in partnership with the British Council as part of the Indonesia Market Focus at The London Book Fair 2019.
May 19, 2019 / Jakarta Post
on Pratiwi Juliani

Open the window: Pratiwi Juliani on writing and ‘Dear Jane’

"Take a moment and look through the window of your imagination," Pratiwi Juliani told participants in a writing workshop on Sunday, May 12. The workshop, aptly titled Open the Window, took place in Kinosaurus, Kemang, South Jakarta. The room, usually used for a movie screening, has a side that entirely consists of windowpanes, almost as if the room itself was inviting participants to look outside and let their imagination roam free.