Khairani Barokka


She was born in Jakarta (Jan 01, 1985), and currently lives in Jakarta

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A writer, poet, and interdisciplinary artist. She is also a practitioner of think/do advocacy in the arts, particularly on the ways in which new media can increase inclusion and access for and by disability cultures and feminisms (both of which she is happy to be a part of). Born in Jakarta, Okka works, teaches, and is published internationally, in print and online, with art, literature, disability culture and transdisciplinary performances and workshops held across India, the US, Australia, Malaysia, the UK, Austria, Singapore, and her native Indonesia. She has a masters from ITP at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a Tisch Departmental Fellow, working on participatory, interactive art, literature, and social issues storytelling. Her BA (High Honors, College Scholar) was from Middlebury College in Sociology/Anthropology.

Okka is the writer, performer, and producer of a hearing-impaired accessible solo show, “Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee” (with a grant from HIVOS as main sponsor), which premiered at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 as Indonesia’s only representative. Previously, she pioneered the production of the first live-streamed spoken word shows in Indonesia, involving cross-national collaborations, with a focus on social justice/disability justice. As an independent scholar, she is a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), and has presented at international conferences, festivals, and as a two-time TEDx speaker (Jakarta and Youth@Chennai). Okka was most recently profiled in UNFPA’s book “Investing in Young People in Indonesia: Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change”, and has been featured extensively in national and international media, among them multiple ABC Australia appearances (radio and television), RRR (Aus), The Hindu (India), The Times of India, The New Current (UK), and all major Indonesian newspapers and media including National Geographic, Esquire, and BBC Indonesia (see PRESS for complete list).

Okka is currently Artist-In-Residence at Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia) for 6 months, where she is working on writing projects as well as using text in mixed media works. She has also held residencies at Vermont Studio Center (US; with a grant for poetry, as first Indonesian writer-in-residence), Tutti Arts (AUS), the EQUILIBRIUM Project at Sandarbh (India), Jatiwangi Art Factory’s Village Video Festival (Indonesia) and was Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence for 2013.


  Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back
264 page(s), Nine Arches Press
  Indigenous Species
52 page(s), Tilted Axis Press
  Currently & Emotion: Translations
352 page(s), Test Centre
  Last Night on Earth
109 page(s), SSWA Press

She also Writes ...

What Media Say

First Collection Interview – Khairani Barokka (Mar 22, 2018)
A roar for nature in Indonesia: Q&A with the poet behind ‘Indigenous Species’ (Oct 30, 2017)
Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, eds., – Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Aug 28, 2017)
Disabled artists are out here: A conversation with Okka (Aug 06, 2017)
Interview with writer/artist Khairani Barokka (Apr 19, 2017)
Interview with Entrepreneur Khairani Barokka (Jul 25, 2013)
My Jakarta: Khairani ‘Okka’ Barokka, Writer-Performer (Jul 13, 2012)

Also Mentioned in ...

Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature – August 25, 2017 (Aug 25, 2017)
Translating Indonesian Literature: Promoting Culture, Spreading Ideas, Fostering Change (Aug 07, 2014)
Kate Griffin: Taking literature to a new level (Apr 28, 2014)
Jakarta’s ASEAN Literary Festival Spotlights Regional Realities (Apr 01, 2014)
‘Women of Letters’ revives lost art with new voices (Oct 31, 2013)


Anxiety is the stuff of creativity: Khairani Barokka at TEDxJakarta