Ahmad Tohari


He was born in Tinggarjaya, Jatilawang, Banyumas (Jun 13, 1948), and currently lives in Banyumas

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An Indonesia well-knowned writer who can picture a typical village scenery very well in his writings. He has been everywhere, writings for magazines. He attended Fellowship International Writers Program at Iowa, United State on 1990 and received Southeast Asian Writers Award on 1995.1

Born in the village of Tinggarjaya, Jatilawang, Banyumas, the fourth of twelve children. Tohari has described himself as a “progressive religious intellectual” whose aim is to nurture a modern Islam that honors Indonesia’s diverse indigenous culture and traditions while following the teaching of the Koran. Tohari’s formal education ended with high school in Purwokerto. He explored several faculties of economics, social and political studies and medicine, but did not graduate from any of them. Tohari didn’t initially plan to become a novelist, preferring instead to study medicine at the school of medicine of the Jakarta Islamic Hospital Foundation, but was forced to leave for economic reasons.

Tohari moved to Jakarta in the early 1970s and worked briefly Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) (1970–72), was editor of the newspaper Harian Merdeka (1979-1981) and editor of the magazine Amanah (1986 – 1993). He bagan writing short stories, poems and essays in the early 1970s while working for the BNI. Initial recognition came in 1975 when he was named favorite short story writer in a Dutch Radio Hilversum contest. Further success came in 1978 when his novel, Di Kaki Bukit Cibalak (On the Foothill of Cibalak), won a novel writing contest organized by the Jakarta Arts Council. In 1980, he published his novel, Kubah (Dome). This was followed in 1981 with publication of the first book of Tohari’s famous trilogy, Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, in series in the publication Kompas daily. The second and third books, Lintang Kemukus Dini Hari (A Shooting Star at Dawn) and Jentera Bianglala (The Rainbow’s Arc), were published in 1985 and 1986 respectively. The trilogy and Kubah discussed in some detail the fate of those accused of collaborating with the Communist Party after the 30 September Movement. This did affect publication. Although the trilogy was serialized in Kompas, several sections of the final in the trilogy, Jentera Bianglala, had to be rewritten as the daily feared publishing them in their original form. The complete trilogy was later published with the previously removed sections restored.

His books have been published in Japanese, Chinese, Dutch and German. An English edition of Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk was published in 2003 by the Lontar Foundation in Jakarta.2

  1. Goodreads 
  2. Wikipedia 


  “Anak ini Mau Mengencingi Jakarta?”
("This Kid Wants to Urinate all over Jakarta?”)
222 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
  BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016
350 page(s), Math Paper Press
  Kind Looking Eyes
Collection of Short Stories
192 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  Mata yang Enak Dipandang
Collection of Short Stories
216 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
216 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  Bekisar Merah
360 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk
(The Dancer)
397 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  The Red Bekisar
320 page(s), Dalang Publishing

What Media Say

Ahmad Tohari: “If only our leaders read literary works” (Jun 21, 2009)

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