Djenar Maesa Ayu


She was born in Jakarta (Jan 14, 1973), and currently lives in Jakarta‎

View her profile on Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter

Also known as Nay, Djenar Maesa Ayu is an Indonesian novelist, short story writer, actress, screenwriter, and filmmaker. Her work has variously been described as “provocative and lurid”, and unique and brave. Because of the boldness of the topics she writes about, Djenar is considered to a member of the informal movement labeled sastra wangi.1

Djenar Maesa Ayu started her writings on many national newspapers. Her first book “Mereka Bilang Saya Monyet!” has been reprinted more than 8 times and shortlisted on Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2003. Her short story “Waktu Nayla” awarded the best Short Story by Kompas in 2003, while “Menyusu Ayah” become The Best Short Story by Jurnal Perempuan and translated to English by Richard Oh with title “Suckling Father”. Her second book “Jangan Main-main (dengan Kelaminmu)” was launch February 2005 and also received great success. The amazing part is this book reprinted two days after the launching.2

The daughter of film director Sjumandjaja and actress Tuti Kirana, Djenar Maesa Ayu began writing while studying at elementary school.[1] After graduation, Djenar worked as a television presenter for a short time before beginning to write professionally.[1]

Djenar’s first book was a compilation of eleven short stories under the title Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet! (They say I’m a Monkey), written in 2001 and published the following year. In 2003, one year after it was published, Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet was one of ten books nominated for the Khatulisitwa Literary Award. The book has since been translated into English by Michael N. Garcia of Cornell University, with the English translation being launched, along with Nayla, her first novel, during the 2005 Ubud literary festival. Her second book, Jangan Main-Main (dengan Kelaminmu) (Don’t Play (with Your Genitals)), also a compilation of eleven short stories, was nominated for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2004.[1] Nayla, was published in 2005, followed by Cerita Pendek Tentang Cerita Cinta Pendek (Short Stories about Short Stories), published in 2006.3

  1. Wikipedia 
  2. Goodreads 
  3. MedLibrary 


  “Anak ini Mau Mengencingi Jakarta?”
("This Kid Wants to Urinate all over Jakarta?”)
222 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
  Di Tubuh Tarra, dalam Rahim Pohon: Cerpen Pilihan KOMPAS 2014
220 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
  Klub Solidaritas Suami Hilang: Cerpen Pilihan Kompas 2013
Collection of Short Stories
248 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
188 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  Cinta di Atas Perahu Cadik: Cerpen KOMPAS Pilihan 2007
Collection of Short Stories
166 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
  Jangan Main-main dengan Kelaminmu
Collection of Short Stories
122 page(s), Gramedia Pustaka Utama

What Media Say

Djenar Shifts Focus: Djenar Maesa Ayu on Making her Third Film (Oct 04, 2015)
‘SAIA’: Djenar Maesa Ayu’s spontaneous celebration (Jan 09, 2014)
In Indonesia, ‘anti-porn’ may curtail basic freedoms (Dec 01, 2008)
‘Shattered families’: ‘transgression’, cosmopolitanism and experimental form in the fiction of Djenar Maesa Ayu (Dec 01, 2007)

Also Mentioned in ...

A tale of two Sulawesi writers: Talent vs hard work (Jun 05, 2017)
Celebrating Indonesia’s literary fiction tradition (Jun 02, 2016)
New aromas (Jul 17, 2015)