Media Clippings


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


We Rise, We Heal, We Resist

Mar 22, 2022 / GenderIT.org by Raiz Rizqy Yulia Dwi Andriyanti
With its diverse ethnicities and cultures, Indonesia has celebrated gender diversity even before the country's independence. This is indicated by the existence of five genders in the Bugis (South Sulawesi) tradition, namely: Makunrai (female), Oroane (Male), Calabai (Male with women soul), Calalai (Female with man soul) and Bissu. Bissu have a high and respected position in the social structure of Bugis society. They are the leaders of ancient Bugis religious rituals. Various information related to these five genders are written in Sureq I Lagaligo[1]. Unfortunately, there were upheavals from armed groups who disagreed with the regime during the Old Order in Indonesia. This group conducted Operation Toba (Operation of Repentance), which targeted the bissus. They were arrested and forced to become men, even some of the bissus were killed because they were not willing to leave their traditions.

“Cemeteries Are Everyday Life”―Five Indonesian Writers Talk Pandemic Normality

Mar 08, 2022 / The Asia Center by Raka Ibrahim
Roundtable talk / Asian Literature Project "YOMU" (Indonesia) Nothing remains the same after the pandemic, and Indonesian writers struggle, too. They must contend with personal battles, economic woes, and the realities of a book industry ill-prepared to face a global crisis. For the project YOMU, the Japan Foundation asked five well-known authors to reflect on their new normal life from their own perspective. What came out of this was five emotionally-charged short stories and essays. Ziggy Zezsyazeoviennazabrizkie wrote about child welfare issues and domestic violence, Azhari Aiyub used the durian craze as a metaphor for fighting back against collective trauma, Intan Paramaditha mused on the nature of borders and privileges, Faisal Oddang spoke of dreams and the spectre of death, while Agustinus Wibowo reflected on his identity and personal journeys. In September 2021, they spoke with Lily Yulianti Farid, writer and translator, and director of the Makassar International Writers Festival, about loss, the tasks of the literature scene after the pandemic, and the rapeutic snake dreams. Moderator: Lily Yulianti Farid Text (Indonesian and English): Raka Ibrahim

“We Are a Nation of Wounds”―Eka Kurniawan ✕ Ribeka Ota

Feb 25, 2022 / The Asia Center by Raka Ibrahim
As a novelist, Eka Kurniawan's star has never shone brighter. In 2016, he became Indonesia's first writer to be nominated for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize. Two years later, he received the Prince Claus Award. And he's not stopping: his novel, Seperti Dendam, Rindu Harus Dibayar Tuntas (Vengeance is Mine, All Other Pay Cash), was recently adapted into a feature film that just won the Golden Leopard Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. He's at the top of his game now. His globetrotting adventures began in Japan. In 2006, his debut novel Cantik itu Luka (Beauty is a Wound) was translated into Japanese by OTA Ribeka—the first time Eka's works were introduced to an audience beyond his country. Since then, he has transformed from an overzealous young writer into one of the country's most renowned authors. The pair were reunited at "Reading Indonesia Through Translated Novels," a discussion held on in August 2021 as part of the Asian Literature Project "YOMU." They spoke with Raka Ibrahim, a writer and translator, about their travails translating literature, how to gaze at history with insolence, and new perspectives in Indonesian literature.

Speed Hating, Singapore Crime Tours and other guilty pleasures at Singapore Writers Festival 2021

Oct 02, 2021 / Bakchormeeboy
With Singapore being a multilingual, multicultural nation, look out for other programmes across English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Some of these programmes include The Knots in Being Naughty, an excavation of guilty pleasures in Tamil literary arts with Leena Manimekalai, Vadi PVSS, and Indrajit; or Forget Her Not: Sridevi – The Eternal Screen Goddess with Satyarth Nayak, the author of her biography, and the highly acclaimed director, R. Balk. Join writer Chang Tieh Chih for a conversation about the medium of the magazine in The Modern Magazine in a Digital Age. Reminisce about food from three capitals of cuisine in Savour the Flavour with Hoo Joo Chuan, Emily Chau, and Wong Chiang Yin. Puisi yang Berisi brings authors from various cities together with acclaimed Indonesian poet Joko Pinurbo alongside Fahd Razy and Farihan Barhon, as they discuss how poetry can be a rallying cry and secret fans of clichéd storylines and happy endings can indulge in the conversation with Nisah Haron and Amanah Mustafi in Malu tapi Mahu.

Good News for Literature Lovers

Jul 23, 2021 / NOW!Jakarta
The long-awaited Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) returns for its 18th year, from 8–17 October 2021. The Festival moves forward with the theme, Mulat Sarira, interpreted in English as Self-Reflection. The Festival will explore self-reflection, cultural introspection, and human rights: examining who we are, what unites and divides us, and what drives our actions.

Book piracy: Cash-strapped and hungry for knowledge, or simply fraud?

May 31, 2021 / Jakarta Post by Vania Evan
Finding pirated versions of books in Indonesia is easy. From kiosks and outlets in shopping centers to a variety of e-commerce platforms that host vendors carrying the illicit goods, those looking can find cheap versions of practically any title, old and new, foreign or Indonesia. From obvious photocopies to black-and-white scanned prints, and to high-quality reproductions, pirated books come in many shapes and forms to fit every budget.

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.
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