Five Indonesian authors you should read (or: Intan Paramaditha on the inescable politics of lists)

Media Clippings


This article mentions Ayu Utami Eka Kurniawan Norman Erikson Pasaribu Nukila Amal Seno Gumira Ajidarma
Written by Intan Paramaditha
Originally published in Literary Hub.
Mar 08, 2019


Making a list is by necessity a practice of exclusion. As someone who has been both privileged and overlooked by such practice, I have an ambivalent relationship with lists. And as an Indonesian woman writer in a field dominated by (heterosexual) men, I have worked with a number of feminist activists to propose counter-lists. Yet here is the contradiction: even though we are aware that any list reflects the biases and politics of selection and representation, we still expect a kind of mainstream list when we start exploring new territory.

Indonesia is the Market Focus Country for the London Book Fair this year (March 12-14, 2019), and twelve authors have been invited to participate in various events at LBF and other parts of the UK. I am honored to have been selected, but I am also confronted with my own privilege; my translated short story collection just came out in the UK, and next year my debut novel will be published in the UK as well. I am still struggling with representation, but I have behind me my agent and publishers in three different countries, a luxury that the majority of Indonesian authors do not have. It is clear that the richness of Indonesian literature cannot be reduced to twelve authors, and we need to keep looking beyond the list.

Read the full article here.
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