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July Digest — From Germany to the Evening Lecture in “France”

Blog / Digest

August 9, 2018 — by IDWRITERS

Last updated on June 19, 2022 at 11:43 pm

We will (once again) begin publishing monthly digests highlighting the most fascinating recent pieces: insightful reviews, news updates on Indonesian literature, in addition to notable goings-on as posted on our website and Twitter feed in the former month. As some readers may notice, in the past we have previously published a similar collection of pieces in the form of devoted monthly digest page.

So, we would love to make this summary available again, starts from this July Digest 2018 edition. Valent Mustamin, teamed up with Nuril Hanifah to contribute to this piece.




In Germany, Taufiq Ismail launched his poetry collection, contains 820 poems translated into German, at Rumah Budaya Indonesia of Indonesian Embassy, Berlin. He shared his adversity as a poet in Indonesia in 1960 by reading one of his poem, “Catatan Tahun 1965”.

With financial assistance from Cipta Media Ekspresi, Dewi Noviami—who also happens a program officer at Lontar Foundation—has spearheaded a program titled “Ruang Perempuan dan Tulisan” (Women’s Space and Writings) whose goal is to rekindle public interest in literary work by “almost-forgotten” Indonesian women authors. In this innovative project, ten young women writers will research and write papers on the work of ten deceased women authors.

Book Riot’s contributor Bee Oder adds Intan Paramaditha’s Apple and Knife to their fabulous #ReadWomen list, along with other nine short stories about (and by) women. One good recommendation in order to celebrate Women in Translation Month in August.

Five new translation of Afrizal Malna’s poems from Museum Penghancur Dokumen, translated by Daniel Owen, appears in New York-based journal, Brooklyn Rail. This Owen’s English translation, Document Shredding Machine is forthcoming in 2019 from Reading Sideways Press.

The first round of authors, artists, thinkers, and performers who will join the 15th year of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has been revealed, including Dee Lestari, M Aan Mansyur, Richard Oh, Haidar Bagir, Putu Fajar Arcana, Avianti Armand, and Clarissa Goenawan among many other popular names.

Festival Sastra Bengkulu started for the first time in 2018, with over 100 writers—including from neighboring countries, hosting events over three days from 13 to 15 July. This festival was held not only as the media to promote Bengkulu’s art and cultural tourism to support Visit Bengkulu 2020 program, but also to encourage Bengkulu youngsters to play their roles on developing their own hometown.

Eka Kurniawan and artist Eko Nugroho talked about newest Eka’s short story collection “Cinta Tak Ada Mati” (Love Knows No End) in Ekologi Coffee, Yogyakarta. This collection was republished in April with a new cover that was illustrated by Eko Nugroho. With an art curator Alia Swastika acting as moderator, they discussed the magical absurdity inside the book, the challenges on manifesting them into illustration and their possible future collaboration.

Despite its intimidating appearance—being almost one thousand pages in length, Azhari Aiyub’s Kura-Kura Berjanggut, a novel about Aceh in the 17th century is an absorbing read that will grip readers from beginning to end. The Jakarta Post talk to the author after a discussion about the book early this month.

One of Norman’s poems in translation, “A Flyer” appears in the current issue of Modern Poetry Translation magazine, ‘The House of Thirst’, that focuses on LGBTQ and poetry from all around the world. This poem hails from “Sergius Mencari Bacchus”, a collection focusing on contemporary queer life in Indonesia that won first prize in the Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Manuscript Competition in 2015, was shortlisted for the 2016 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry, and was named one of the best poetry collections of the year by the Indonesian magazine Tempo.

In a recent review by Inside Indonesia, a consulting editor of the Hebrew translation of Eka Kurniawan’s internationally acclaimed novel, Cantik Itu Luka (Beauty is a Wound), Giora Eliraz, talked about the historic and cultural aspect on understanding Beauty is a Wound. Published in late 2017, this translation version under the title Yofi Hu Petza‘ presumably is the first-ever publication of an Indonesian novel translated into Hebrew.

Obituary “The Danarto I knew” written by Seno Gumira Ajidarma which previously published in Jawa Pos, April 15, 2018, published in a recent edition of Inside Indonesia, translated by Andy Fuller.

Latest from Asymptote July 2018 edition: In his exuberant poetry titled “from mongrel kampung”, Mikael Johani dances between Indonesian and English in a way that seems to map the thoughts of this multilingual writer. His forthcoming second poetry collection, Mongrel Kampung, will feature mostly codeswitching poems, including this one.

Scores of literature enthusiasts crowded the newly renovated hall of Aksara bookstore as the retailer celebrated its recent collaboration with Post Santa, to focus on alternative literature and serve as a community center. This focus is a groundbreaking starter for the revolution of indie bookstores to emphasize the emergence of alternative literature to introduce readers to a various subject, perspectives, and new authors.

Talk to The Jakarta Globe, Laksmi Pamuntjak unveils her plan to release a sequel to her debut novel “Amba” next month in Germany, titled “Herbstkind”. This novel is set to go on sale on Aug 10. However, the English version needs a bit of extra tinkering, and won’t be offering it to publishers until later this year.

Art-accompanied poem book, Indigenous Species by Khairani Barokka launched its Vietnamese version in Hanoi. During this occasion, Okka talked about connecting Vietnam readers to her beloved strange homeland, Indonesia, while raising awareness about ecological, identity, feminism, and disability issues. Local media, Urbanist Hanoi reports.

27 years after its last adaptation, Balai Pustaka is going to bring the classic novel ‘Siti Nurbaya’ into a television series in hoped to inspire the Indonesian public to enjoy local literature. This series is expected to be aired on the end of this year.

In case you missed it, July is also the final month for submissions to one of the biggest national novel competition “Sayembara Novel Dewan Kesenian Jakarta 2018” and a translation fund assistance program from Komite Buku Nasional and Kemendikbud, #LitRI Translation Grant.


English translation of Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poem collection “Sergius Mencari Bacchus” by Tiffany Tsao won the 2018 PEN Translates award along with other notable works from 16 different countries! These books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, a strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity. “Sergius Seeks Bacchus” is forthcoming with Tilted Axis Press in 2019. Particularly, for Tiffany, this award was definitely a perfect accomplishment, since her third novel Under Your Wings is officially out early this month, published by Viking Australia.

Armin Bell and Willy Ana received ”Anugerah Sastra Litera 2018”, in recognition of their work: Monolog di Penjara and Petuah Kampung in the category Prose and Poetry, respectively.

Luukellot (The Bone Clocks) by an English novelist, David Mitchell won the Tähtifantasia (Star Fantasy) 2018, the award for the best-translated fantasy novel in Finland. Eka Kurniawan’s Kauneus on Kirous (Beauty is a Wound), along with works by Ursula K. Le Guin, Andri Magnason, and Brandon Sanderson were shortlisted. This year’s line-up includes five books with quite a different view of what fantasy is.


Khairani Barokka was interviewed by BuahZine’s Teta Alim, talk about her mind, #IndigenousSpecies, #StairsandWhispers, etc.


Genta and Ndari of Sukutangan, a Bali-based couple who design and illustrate books from front to back, talk to Spine Magazine about their process of creating the beautifully intricate cover for Rahasia Salinem.

Also by Sukutangan, one of their cover masterpieces, Contact Light by Madina Malahayati Chumaera got featured by Electric Literature in “What 11 Books Looked Like Before the Final Cover” on their design journey.

Meanwhile, Brow Books Australia shares the secret behind the edgy, pulpy cover of their recent book, Intan Paramaditha’s collection of stories, Apple and Knife. They tell us about the process on how they conceptualized, planned and shot the cover.


An Op-Ed piece by poet and short story writer, Zen Hae, marks the return of our literary blog section, on July 28. “From Book Review to the Canonization of Literature” is an English translation, with a slightly different version than the previously published in Beritagar on Monday, July 22, 2018, Dari Ulasan Buku ke Kanonisasi Sastra.

In addition, let’s take a moment to highlight these entries from our “Today in History” section:

Originally run by the Indonesian Foundation (Yayasan Indonesia), the first issue of Horison magazine was officially published on July 15, 1966. The idea to create such a magazine belonged to the writer and publicist Mochtar Lubis, with the first editorial board consisted of H.B. Jassin, Taufiq Ismail, Soe Hok Djin (Arief Budiman), D.S. Moeljanto, and himself. But later in 2016—or after 50 years of its publication, Horison switches to the online version in order to embrace advanced technology.

While in the same day, Rencana Pembunuhan Sang Muazin (Murder Plot against the Muezzin) by Feby Indirani marks the debut of DETIK.com’s short story section in 2017. This story was included in an eponymous short story anthology Bukan Perawan Maria (Not Virgin Mary) published by Pabrikultur two months ago.

In 2013, the Frankfurt Book Fair officially welcomes Indonesia as Guest of Honour country of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: In 2015, the fair will present “the vibrant literature, talents and the rich culture of one of the most populous and ‘young’ countries in the world, of which only little is known in Germany”.


After held in Bali last year, the 11th Asia Pacific Writers & Translators gathering will take place from 5-7 December on the Gold Coast in Australia. Taking the theme, “Shared Dreams; Creative Practice in Connected World”, this year’s APWT will focus on the imaginative possibilities aspect of writing that contributes to the environmental and social justice issues.

And just your friendly end of month reminder, there will be an Evening Lecture on August 29, 2018, on “SOME NATURAL DISASTER THROUGH INDONESIAN LITERATURE with Étienne Naveau”, conducted by Institut Français d’Indonésie in Jakarta. Indonesia has been hit by natural disasters, such as 1883 Krakatau eruption and the 2004 Aceh tsunami. How are these evoked in Indonesian literature and what do they tell us about society? You don’t want to miss this lecture. Save the date!




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