Ayu Utami


She was born in Bogor (Nov 21, 1968), and currently lives in Jakarta

View her profile on Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter

She has written novels, short-stories, and articles. Saman (1998) is widely considered her masterpiece. It was translated into English by Pamela Allen in 2005. By writing about sex and politics, Utami addressed issues formerly forbidden to Indonesian women, a change referred to as sastra wangi.1

When she was a girl, after winning a beauty contest, she refused a career as a model, preferring to study and work in culture. A founding member of the Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists, a militant against the censorship of information, Ayu Utami currently works for several cultural reviews and magazines.2

Utami’s prose is lively and modern, and as such reflects the richness of the Indonesian oral tradition. The author masterfully switches between various narrative perspectives, locations and time scales, links dream sequences and old myths with descriptions of the political and societal relations in Indonesia in the 1990’s.3

Today Ayu is the co-publisher of the culture magazine Kalam.4

  1. Wikipedia 
  2. Metropoli D’Asia 
  3. Culture Base 
  4. International Museum of Women 


  Indonesian Women Writers
268 page(s), Regiospectra
  Maya (Bilangan Fu #4)
249 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Kisah Orang-orang Scorpio (Seri Horoskop, #1)
Collection of Short Stories
225 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
220 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Pengakuan: Eks Parasit Lajang
(The Confession)
328 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Sirkus Sastra: Bunga Rampai Bienal Sastra Salihara 2013
428 page(s), Komunitas Salihara
  Lalita (Bilangan Fu #3)
256 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Cerita Cinta Enrico
(Enrico's Love Story)
244 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Manjali dan Cakrabirawa (Bilangan Fu #2)
276 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Smokol: Cerpen Kompas Pilihan 2008
Collection of Short Stories
169 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
  Bilangan Fu
548 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
  Saman: A Novel
184 page(s), Equinox Publishing
  Si Parasit Lajang: Seks, Sketsa, & Cerita
(The Single Parasite)
180 page(s), Gagas Media
197 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)

What Media Say

Bookworm: Reading for Writing (Jun 08, 2015)
Ayu Utami: Do Publishers Still Matter for Authors? (Feb 26, 2015)
Ayu Utami: On the fine line between audacity and honesty (Oct 06, 2012)
Indonesian writer Ayu Utami: ‘Love is still the name of the game’ (Aug 02, 2012)
Indonesian Writer & Activist Ayu Utami: ‘I love Indonesia with Pain in my Heart’ (May 23, 2012)
In Indonesia, ‘anti-porn’ may curtail basic freedoms (Dec 01, 2008)
Ayu Utami: Explores her spiritual side (Jul 06, 2008)
Reading Ayu Utami: Notes toward a Study of Trauma and the Archive in Indonesia (Apr 01, 2007)
A Young Novelist Challenges Indonesia’s Taboos (May 27, 2000)

Also Mentioned in ...

A writer’s festival in Makassar: The secret to its success — people power! (May 09, 2018)
Latin America Under Spotlight at Salihara’s Literature and Ideas Festival (Sep 20, 2017)
Five Minutes With… Pam Allen (May 07, 2017)
Rethinking Censorship in Indonesia (Nov 06, 2015)
The Contribution Of Indonesian Novels, Short Stories And Poetry Towards Tolerance As To The G-30-s Trauma (Oct 21, 2015)
Time to shine for Indonesian literature (Oct 18, 2015)
World meet Indonesian literature at the Buchmesse (Oct 15, 2015)
An introduction to the literature of Indonesia, 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair’s Guest of Honour (Oct 14, 2015)
Little-known Indonesian writers tackle taboos on world stage (Oct 13, 2015)
“Indonesian literature has a lot to offer to the world” (Aug 11, 2015)
A many-headed machine (Jul 17, 2015)
New aromas (Jul 17, 2015)
Literature in Indonesia: A land without readers (May 29, 2015)
Putting the Word Out (Oct 30, 2014)
Translating Indonesian Literature: Promoting Culture, Spreading Ideas, Fostering Change (Aug 07, 2014)
Indonesia as Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honor in 2015 (Jul 16, 2013)
Why Aren’t More Indonesian Literary Works Published Abroad? (Jan 17, 2009)


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