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Eight new paperbacks from Makassar International Writers Festival to check out this week!

Blog / Books

June 7, 2017 — by Eunice Ali

Last updated on August 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Themed “Diversity”, the seventh edition of the Makassar International Writers Festival took place on May 17-20 in Fort Rotterdam, Makassar. Packed with more than 75 participating writers and nearly 50 programs, the festival easily becomes the most anticipated literary event for the locals.

A highlight of the four-day festival included the launch of eight books, each followed by its own discussion session.

The aforementioned books consisted of a collection of writings, three republished books, and four newly released books. The collection of writings was a selected work featuring writers from eastern Indonesia, titled Dari Timur: Vol 1 (From the East: 1st Volume). The republished books were: Cinta yang Marah (Angry Love) by M. Aan Mansyur, Rafilus by Budi Darma, and Petang Panjang di Central Park (A Long Evening at Central Park) by Bondan Winarno. The newly released books were: Gambar Kesunyian di Jendela (A Quiet Picture by the Window) by Shinta Febriany, The Book of Invisible Questions by Lala Bohang, Cinta yang Diacuhkan (Acknowledged Love) by Khrisna Pabichara, and another work by Aan Mansyur titled Perjalanan Lain Menuju Bulan (Another Trip to the Moon).

Launched on the first day of the festival, Dari Timur: Vol 1 (From the East: 1st Volume) was named a new milestone reached by MIWF in its seventh year, showcasing a total of fifteen poems and six short stories written by 11 writers from eastern Indonesia. These writers, who had been invited to attend the festival since 2011, were previously part of the Emerging Writers program; they were Ama Achmad, Cicilia Oday, Deasy Tirayoh, Dicky Senda, Emil Amir, Erni Aladjai, Faisal Oddang, Ibe S. Palogai, Irma Agryanti, Jamil Massa, and Mario F. Lawi. More importantly, this anthology remains as an annual literary publication—with a focus on promoting new writings from eastern Indonesia— in partnership with Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

To sum up, Dari Timur: Vol 1 was definitely a good addition to the current list of anthology coming to life during literary festivals: Tat Tvam Asi – A Bilingual Anthology of Indonesian Writing (2016); 17.000 Islands of Imagination, A Bilingual Anthology of Indonesian Writing (2015 UWRF Anthology); Bunga Rampai Bienal Sastra Salihara 2015; Out of Ubud – Selected Work by New Voices at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (2014); Saraswati: Wisdom & Knowledge, a Bilingual Anthology of Indonesian Writing (2014); and Through Darkness to Light: A Bilingual Anthology of Indonesian Writing (2013).

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First published in April 2009, Cinta yang Marah (Angry Love) was relaunched with a whole new look, complete with clippings of Kompas newspaper articles dating back to May 1-21, 1998. Consisting of twenty-one “angry poems of love” and arranged chronologically as serialized stories, this is the newest poetry collection by Aan Mansyur presented with a slightly different approach.

“Aan has written his own narrative about what many Indonesians often call as ‘a national awakening’ and ‘reformation’, especially about the kind(s) of men cruising around in space and time when this country is going through or has been through reformation. But I knew that he has an explosion of anger and love, also [a passion] for things that are far more serious, just as I started reading this series of poem.” — Nurhady Sirimorok

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Shortly thereafter, two influential and seasoned Indonesian writers Budi Darma and Bondan Winarno also republished their books: Rafilus and Petang Panjang di Central Park (A Long Evening at Central Park), respectively.

In his novel Rafilus, which was initially published in 1988 by Balai Pustaka, Budi Darma flaunts his narrative technique: absurd yet magical at the same time.

Budi Darma has authored a few novels, as well as several collections of short stories and essays. His first publication, an anthology of eight short stories titled Orang-orang Bloomington (People of Bloomington) was published in 1980. Soon afterward, he wrote Olenka in 1983, Rafilus in 1988, and Ny. Talis (Mrs. Talis) in 1996. Then 30 years later, Noura Books gave Rafilus a makeover and relaunched the book under the same title.

Bondan Winarno’s book, which was written between 1980 and 2004, was originally published as Pada Sebuah Beranda: 25 Cerpen Bondan Winarno by Jalansutra in 2005 before it was relaunched under a new title called Petang Panjang di Central Park. This is one of the several good books in literature series promoted by Noura Books, along with Orang-orang Bloomington and Dunia Sukab by Seno Gumira Ajidarma.

BTW, just in case you are not aware of it, long before his thriving career in Indonesian culinary tourism with his famously catchy tagline ‘maknyus’, Bondan Winarno had undoubtedly succeeded as an acclaimed short story and novel writer.

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To add splendor to the dazzling stack of books from this festival, these four newly released books —which were apparently written by South Sulawesi-born authors— are definitely worth reading.

Poet and theater director Shinta Febriany, as well as artist, illustrator, and poet Lala Bohang introduced their latest poetry collections Gambar Kesunyian di Jendela and The Book of Invisible Questions, respectively, which were published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama; Khrisna Pabichara launched his latest novel Cinta yang Diacuhkan, published by Gagas Media; Last but not least, Aan Mansyur showcased his latest collaborative work adapted from Ismail Basbeth’s movie Perjalanan Lain Menuju Bulan, published by Bentang Pustaka.


Gambar Kesunyian di Jendela, The Book of Invisible Questions, and Cinta yang Diacuhkan are now available online and in local bookstores, while Perjalanan Lain Menuju Bulan is available for preorder.

So what are you waiting for? Go check them out! (EA/VM)

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