Media Clippings


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


Claire Albrecht Reviews Jennifer Mackenzie’s Navigable Ink

Mar 25, 2021 / Cordite Poetry Review by Claire Albrecht
It is difficult to completely reconcile with a book that, while centralising Indonesian culture and history, is written by a white outsider. Jennifer Mackenzie is certainly a well-informed, respectful and respected outsider, but an outsider nonetheless. The book reads as a response, or creative criticism, or homage to Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s work and life. Taken as such, Mackenzie can be forgiven for some of the insertion into a narrative that is not her own. She is a wrangling with an enormous literary, political and cultural history that is still alive and volatile, despite her focus on Indonesian history up to the end of the twentieth century. Mackenzie’s choice to approach this through the medium of poetry is unproblematic on its own, but where the poems verge into the lyric and take the narratorial I, they begin to claim Toer’s (and Indonesia’s) history as their own, and the waters muddy.

Online literary festivals connect people around the world

Dec 29, 2020 / Jakarta Post by Sebastian Partogi Stevie Emilia
Literary festivals, publishing companies and writers have quickly shifted online in the face of the pandemic. Annual festivals such as the Makassar International Writers Festival (MIWF) in Makassar, South Sulawesi; Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) in Jakarta; and Bali’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) did not conduct on-the-ground events this year. Yet, they organized online dialogues and workshops addressing issues through literary works as entry points.

IPA Presents Two Panels about Digital Publishing and Accessibility at Jakarta Festival

Dec 01, 2020 / International Publishers Association
Jakarta Content Week, or Jaktent, a new annual celebration of innovation and creativity in the Indonesian capital played host to two IPA seminars in November. IPA’s Director of Communications, James Taylor, spoke about the IPA’s increasingly pivotal role in promoting born-accessible publishing around the world and how adopting accessibility is an opportunity to reach more readers and make better books.

Singapore Writers Festival beams in literary stars

Nov 04, 2020 / Jakarta Post by Josa Lukman
As global travel is still reeling from coronavirus restrictions, the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) is bringing together the world’s top talents to an all-virtual event. Six Indonesian writers – Leila S. Chudori, Khairani Barokka, Mikael Johani, Tita Larasati, Erni Aladjai and Bonni Rambatan – appear in the festival’s Authors/Presenters lineup, offering their perspectives on topics ranging from community to representation.

KEMBALI20: Kevin Kwan, Oka Rusmini, Eka Kurniawan, and other great speakers you should see during ‘Rebuild Bali’ virtual festival

Sep 15, 2020 / Coconuts by Sheany
There’s no denying that our world looks starkly different today compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t engage in thought-provoking discussions from the safety and comfort of our homes amid this pandemic, right?  Well, for those of us who were looking forward to the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) or Ubud Food Festival (UFF) in 2020, their organizers have created a virtual alternative this year, titled KEMBALI20: A Rebuild Bali Festival, which will take place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. The full lineup and programs for the event, which is set to “bring together the most successful elements of UWRF and UFF,” was announced recently, featuring some pretty exciting speakers including renowned Singaporean-American writer behind Crazy Rich Asians, Indonesia’s own literary stars Eka Kurniawan and Dee Lestari, and not to mention talks that are closer to home for those of us in Bali, ranging from flourishing citizen journalism to preserving local folklore. 

The poetic inspiration of a great novelist and his work

Aug 28, 2020 / The Sydney Morning Herald by Gig Ryan
Navigable Ink, inspired by the life and work of the great Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, also impressionistically re-casts into poetry episodes from his writings on Indonesia’s complex history. Jennifer Mackenzie’s earlier volume Borobudur meditated on that Buddhist monument through its architect, and here she transmits Pramoedya’s vigilant dissidence, often through his novel Arus Balik (The Turning of the Tide), set in 16th-century Indonesia, that she has also partly translated.

Ubud writers and food festivals to go online in October

Aug 25, 2020 / Jakarta Post
A festival that aims to "rebuild Bali" was announced on Monday by the creator behind the popular Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF). Set to be held virtually from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8, KEMBALI20: A Rebuild Bali Festival is said to "bring together the most successful elements of UWRF and UFF". “UWRF was created to boost the economy and ‘reflower’ the community after the devastating effects of the first Bali bombings. As a festival with a mission, we believe that once again, it is our duty to help Bali heal and that culture is at the heart of rebuilding societies,” said Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati founder and director Janet DeNeefe in a statement.

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.
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