Media Clippings


A compilation of every mention of Indonesian writers, written on English/foreign-language media. See also What Media Say.


Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2020 postponed

Jul 17, 2020 / Jakarta Post
The 2020 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which was scheduled to be held this October, has been postponed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival’s founder and director, Janet DeNeefe, said that postponing the high-profile literary event was not an easy decision. “It doesn’t just impact our foundation [Mudra Swari Saraswati] and the festival team, but also means a loss of revenue due to a lack of ticket sales and valuable partnerships,” DeNeefe said in a statement. The annual festival, held in Ubud, Bali, prioritizes the health and safety of its audiences, speakers, staff and volunteers, according to the statement.

Rich themes of Indonesian poems, from struggle, love, to humor

Mar 22, 2020 / Antara by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
Aku by Chairil Anwar is one of the Indonesian-language poems that are widely known across generations. Some critics say the poem, written in 1943, emphasizes Anwar’s individualistic nature and vitality. The 90s generation is probably familiar with this poem as it appears on Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (What’s Up with Love?), a teen movie which marked the revival of Indonesian cinema in the early 2000s.

Deciphering Indonesia in its myriad shades through its female writers

Mar 08, 2020 / Antara by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide to honor women and their accomplishments and acknowledge what women have yet to achieve. This year's International Women's Day is themed #EachforEqual that forges a gender equal world. As in several parts of the world, women in Indonesia have a long-standing history of struggling for equality and the story continues until this day. However, for some people, who find it dreary to learn about history, reading some fiction from the country's prominent female writers can be a good option to acknowledge women's role and depiction in Indonesian society, as well as their struggle and empowerment.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Unveils Its 2020 Theme: Mulat Sarira

Mar 05, 2020 / UWRF News
From 28 October–1 November 2020, more than 150 writers, artists, activists and performers from over 30 countries will converge for the 17th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF), to share stories and ideas exploring this year’s theme, Mulat Sarira. Like the Festivals of previous years, the theme is drawn from a Balinese-Hindu philosophy. Mulat Sarira, Self-Reflection, is the ability to reflect on oneself and understand the reasoning behind our actions. For Balinese Hindus, Mulat Sarira is the spiritual principle of looking into our own deeds, thoughts and values before judging others. “As egocentrism continues to cause human conflict, from discrimination to wars, disease and genocide,” commented UWRF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “Balinese Hindus believe in looking at their own choices and behavior, to contemplate these first before looking into those of others.”

Jakarta Content Con/Week coming in November

Feb 18, 2020 / Jakarta Post
The Frankfurt Book Fair has teamed up with the Tujuhbelasribu Pulau Imaji Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of literary and creative content in Indonesia, to host a one-week content exhibition called Jakarta Content Con/Week in November. According to a statement, creative content in Indonesia and Asia has shown huge business potential in recent years. With that in mind, the upcoming event seeks to provide the opportunity for content producers in book publishing, games, films and the culinary industry to showcase their work as well as establish business-to-business cooperation with relevant parties.

London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards: 2020 Shortlist

Feb 10, 2020 / Publishing Perspectives by Porter Anderson
LBF’s 2020 International Excellence Awards ceremony will be held for the first time in a post-Brexit London, heightening the importance of internationalism to the book publishing industry.

Latin American connection: Can Indonesian literature have the same influence?

Dec 08, 2019 / Jakarta Post by Lara Norgaard
Mexico was a country Dea Anugrah only knew from books. The Indonesian author explored Mexico City’s gritty streets through Roberto Bolaño’s cutting prose, which also introduced him to more than a few Mexican drug lords alongside Juan Pablo Villalobos’s character Tochtli. However, it was in August 2017, with a grant from the National Book Committee and a few Alejandro Zambra novels tucked in his bag, that he first set foot in Latin America. “It felt like going home,” Dea said on a hot, dusty afternoon in Kemang, South Jakarta, when asked what it felt like to travel to such a culturally and linguistically different country. He clarified his response by describing one of Bolaño’s short stories, Death of Ulises. Arturo Belano, the story’s main character and an alter ego of the author himself, finally returns home to Mexico City.

UWRF to ponder consequences of human actions

Oct 14, 2019 / Jakarta Post by Sebastian Partogi
More than 100 authors, activists and journalists from 30 countries will gather at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) in Bali from Oct. 23 to 27 to share their stories and ideas on karma. Karma — the theme of this year’s UWRF — is derived from the Balinese Hindus’ spiritual principle of karma phala, where each action has a consequence equal in force, and similar in form. UWRF, one of the most prominent literary events in the world, will feature 180 speakers this year. True to its trademark as a platform for multidisciplinary contemporary dialog, the festival will showcase not just authors but also activists, chefs, fashion designers and performing artists. They will excange ideas along with participants and guests across 170 programs during the four-day festival. 

Jakarta’s literary festival to highlight Southern identity

Jul 30, 2019 / Jakarta Post by Josa Lukman
Authors from Asia and Africa are to take center stage at the first-ever Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF), which runs from Aug. 20 to 24. The literary festival, which is to take place at the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts center in Central Jakarta, was initiated by the Literary Committee of the Jakarta Arts Council. Committee chairman Yusi Avianto Pareanom said that although the concept of a literary festival is not a new thing for Jakarta, the Literary Committee never organized its own festival until it conceived of JILF.

5 Indonesian Writers You Should be Reading

Mar 27, 2019 / Books and Bao by Will Heath
All eyes are trained on Indonesia right now. Its tourism is flourishing more than ever; foreigners from the West are flooding there to work and live cheaply and healthily (for better or worse), and its art scene is finally being celebrated the world over. Some of the biggest names in poetry, prose, and essays all hail from Indonesia, and if you want to keep up-to-date with some of that wonderful literature from far-off shores in 2019, here are five very special Indonesian writers to get you started.