Pramoedya Ananta Toer Interview

What Media Says


About Pramoedya Ananta Toer,
Written by Matthew Rothschild, and was originally published in The Progressive,
Apr 12, 1999


Pramoedya Ananta Toer is the preeminent novelist of Indonesia and is frequently mentioned as a candidate for a Nobel Prize. Born on February 1, 1925, on the island of Java, Pramoedya was brought up to be an Indonesian nationalist. From 1947 to 1949, he was imprisoned by the Dutch for possessing anti-colonial materials. A supporter of Indonesia’s first president, the nationalist and nonaligned leader Sukarno, Pramoedya was a marked man when General Suharto seized power in September 1965. On the evening of October 13, 1965, Pramoedya was at home editing a collection of Sukarno’s short stories when the military came for him. He spent most of the Suharto era behind bars without trial, including fourteen years at the Buru Island Prison Colony. For the first few years there, he was held with sixteen other prisoners in isolation from the other inmates.

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