“We Are a Nation of Wounds”―Eka Kurniawan ✕ Ribeka Ota

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This article mentions Eka Kurniawan
Written by Raka Ibrahim
Originally published in The Asia Center.
Feb 25, 2022


As a novelist, Eka Kurniawan’s star has never shone brighter. In 2016, he became Indonesia’s first writer to be nominated for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize. Two years later, he received the Prince Claus Award. And he’s not stopping: his novel, Seperti Dendam, Rindu Harus Dibayar Tuntas (Vengeance is Mine, All Other Pay Cash), was recently adapted into a feature film that just won the Golden Leopard Prize at the Locarno Film Festival.

He’s at the top of his game now.

His globetrotting adventures began in Japan. In 2006, his debut novel Cantik itu Luka (Beauty is a Wound) was translated into Japanese by OTA Ribeka—the first time Eka’s works were introduced to an audience beyond his country. Since then, he has transformed from an overzealous young writer into one of the country’s most renowned authors.

The pair were reunited at “Reading Indonesia Through Translated Novels,” a discussion held on in August 2021 as part of the Asian Literature Project “YOMU.” They spoke with Raka Ibrahim, a writer and translator, about their travails translating literature, how to gaze at history with insolence, and new perspectives in Indonesian literature.

Read the full article here.
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