Media Clippings


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


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.

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.