Helvy Tiana Rosa


She was born in Medan (Apr 02, 1970), and currently lives in Depok

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Widely recognized for her works in Indonesian literary and for her relentless efforts to encourage people, especially the young, poor and women, to write and publish their own works.

She is a beloved writer and has written 50 books, ranging from short stories, novel, literary reviews, poets and drama scripts. Helvy often represents Indonesia in literary events, both at home and abroad. Some of her works translated into English, Germany, France, Arabic, Japan and Swedish language. Her story ‘Jaring-jaring Merah’ (the Red Nets) was selected as one of the 10 most important short stories in the decade of 1990-2000 by prominent literary magazine Horison. Bukavu was selected as one of 10 best fiction’s books Katulistiwa Literary Award (2008). In 2012, She became The Most Favorite Poet and her book “Mata Ketiga Cinta” became The Most Favorite Poetry’s Book by Indonesian Readers Awards- Good Reads Indonesia.

In 1991-2001, Helvy worked as a managing editor and then Editor in Chief of Annida Magazine–a famous Islamic teen magazine in Indonesia. Beyond her writings, Helvy has been voluntarily campaigning writing as way ‘for self-enlightenment and for the benefit of people’. She established Forum Lingkar Pena (FLP) in 1997, the largest writers group in Indonesia with over 150 branches worldwide. Helvy founded ‘Rumah Cahaya’ (the House of Light) in 2002, stands for ‘Rumah Baca dan Hasilkan Karya’ (the House for Reading and Writing), as shelters, especially for young and poor. In Aceh, Rumah Cahaya played important part to help the victims of the military operations and, later on, of the tsunami to recover from their trauma by writing. For her works, Singaporean daily ‘The Strait Times’ called her as “pioneer” (2002), while Indonesian daily ‘Koran Tempo’ labeled her as “the Locomotive of Young Indonesian Writers” (2003) and Los Angeles Times wrote that Helvy’s works focus on human-rights abuses against women in conflict zones such as Aceh or Palestine (2007)

Helvy established The Bening Theatrical Company, an all female company. She wrote and directed all the performances throughout Java and Sumatera (1990-2003) like Pertemuan Perempuan (The Women’s Meeting), Mencari Senyuman (in Search of Smiles), Negeri para Pesulap (Land of the Magicians), Mata Airmata Merdeka (Tears in the Eyes of Freedom), etc. In 2008 she founded Bengkel Sastra UNJ, performed Tanah Perempuan (The Land of Women) at the Jakarta Arts Centre (2009).

In 2007, news magazine Gatra selected her as one of the ‘Indonesian Women’s Icons’. Tabloid ‘Wanita Indonesia’ honored Helvy as one of ‘The Inspiring Indonesia Women’ (2008), female magazine ‘Kartini’ granted her ‘Kartini Award’ as one of the most inspiring women in Indonesia and she got SheCAN! Award from Tupperware Indonesia (2009). In the same year, news TV station MetroTV voted her as one of ‘the 10 most recognized female writers in Indonesia.’ She brought FLP to to get Danamon Award, a national award to recognize individual & groups who have significant contribution to the society (2008).

Helvy was a member of the Jakarta Arts Council (2003-2006), a member of the South East Asian Literary Council (MASTERA) and Vice Chairwoman for the Indonesian chapter of the Muslim World Writers Association. In 2011 she elected as a member of Art and Culture Committee, Council of Islamic Scholars of Indonesia. She is one of 20 Indonesians people listed in The 500 Most Influential Muslims in The World as the research result of Royal Islamic Studies Centre, Jordan (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012).

Helvy has a bachelor and Master in Literature from University of Indonesia, and PhD Candidate in Language Education. She is lecturing Literature, Creative Writing, Theater and Drama Studies in Jakarta State University.1

  1. Goodreads 


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A many-headed machine by Hendrik Maier - Inside Indonesia (Jul 17, 2015)
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