What Media Says

Indonesian writers as seen on English/foreign-language media. See also Media Clippings.

Aug 03, 2020 / Tempo English
on Sapardi Djoko Damono

He Never Betrayed Poetry

ESTEEMED poet Sapardi Djoko Damono breathed his last on Sunday, July 19. Esthetically speaking, his work achieved a level of its own in the Indonesian literary firmament. SOME of Sapardi Djoko Damono’s poetry is much like an endless lake which waters if scooped will gel in the hand and transform into whatever they wish it to mean. But the way to delve into his body of work is to sail on those self-same waters. Sapardi’s words represent a life which on the surface looked like it was mainly made up of calm waters. In fact, the poet’s life was filled with many contradictions: treading between a life not making any sense and one of calculated logic; between the Javanese language in thought and the Indonesian language in text; between a form so simple conveying content filled with complexity; between a wish for peace and facing unavoidable conflict. Fellow poet Sutardji Calzoum Bachri once said, it was as if Sapardi’s poems were written in Javanese and translated into the Indonesian. Many saw that statement as sharp criticism towards Sapardi’s stilted use of language in his poetry. Yet Sapardi welcomed the comment. “Indeed, I do think in Javanese.”
Jul 31, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Ajip Rosidi

Ajip Rosidi: A prolific author, spirited literary activist passes away

The month of July marked another blow for the Indonesian literary scene with the passing of award-winning author and poet Ajip Rosidi. Ajip died at the age of 82 on Wednesday evening at the Tidar Regional Hospital in Magelang, Central Java, where he had been undergoing post-operative treatment after a fall at one of his children’s homes.
Jul 30, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Ajip Rosidi

Award-winning author Ajip Rosidi dead at 82

Award-winning author Ajip Rosidi passed away at Tidar Regional Hospital in Magelang, Central Java, on Wednesday. He was 82 years old. He died while undergoing postoperative treatment, Ajip’s daughter Nundang Rundagi said as reported by tempo.co. She explained that her father had been admitted to the hospital about a week ago after falling at one of his children’s homes in Mungkid district, Magelang. Doctors said he had suffered a brain hemorrhage and would require surgery.
Apr 12, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Danarto

Indonesian arts and literature scene mourns passing of Danarto

The Indonesian arts and literature scene lost another one of its best contributors with the passing of writer and artist Danarto. The 76-year old died after being hit by a motorcycle when he crossed a road in Ciputat, South Tangerang, on Tuesday. After the accident, he was taken to the Fatmawati General Hospital in South Jakarta but his injuries were too severe and he did not make it. At the time of writing, the South Tangerang Police are still investigating the accident.
Mar 05, 2020 / Guardian, The
on Intan Paramaditha

Intan Paramaditha: ‘Travel was unattainable for me – I thought America only existed on TV’

"Onism”, according to John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (an online “fictionary” for ineffable feelings), is “the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die – and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.” Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha’s recent book The Wandering, a socially observant choose-your-own adventure novel, is the epitome of onism. Structured like one of the Choose Your Own Adventure series from the 1980s and 90s that Paramaditha read as a child, this novel is no gimmicky remake or nostalgic paean. Instead, Paramaditha adapts the form to serve her subject matter: travel, around which she draws questions of mobility, agency and representation into orbit.
Mar 05, 2020 / Asia House
on Intan Paramaditha

Author Q&A: Intan Paramaditha, The Wandering

The most ingenious and unusual novel you will read all year, where you choose your own story. You’ve grown roots, you’re gathering moss. You’re desperate to escape your boring life teaching English in Jakarta, to go out and see the world. So you make a Faustian pact with a devil, who gives you a gift, and a warning. A pair of red shoes to take you wherever you want to go. You’re forever wandering, everywhere and nowhere, but where is your home? And where will you choose to go? We caught up with Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha ahead of our event with her at Foyles on 31 March.
Feb 29, 2020 / Google Doodles
on Nh. Dini

NH Dini’s 84th Birthday

Inspired by her international travels and relentless pursuit for women’s rights, Dini devoted her life to writing and published dozens of novels, short stories, and poems over her 60-year career. Through works such as “Pada Sebuah Kapal” (“On a Ship,” 1985), and “Namaku Hiroko” (“My Name Is Hiroko,” 1986), Dini’s fiction continues to empower women today. Here’s to a writer whose words live on in the hearts and minds of readers around the world.
Feb 29, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Nh. Dini

Google Doodle celebrates 84th birthday of literary legend NH Dini

Indonesian literary legend Nurhayati Sri Hardini Siti Nukatin, renowned as NH Dini, would have turned 84 on Saturday – an event commemorated with a Google Doodle. Illustrated by Jakarta-based artist Kathrin Honesta, the doodle has the prolific writer wearing glasses while filling pages upon pages of paper with words. According to Google’s Doodle page, NH Dini “grew up listening to her mother read stories from local magazines" and later became a famous author whose works mostly focused on gender issues as she was known to resist "the traditional role of women established by Javanese patriarchy".
Feb 02, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Angelina Enny

Winternachten literary festival and the art of decolonization

Former Dutch colonies are the focus at Winternachten in The Hague, one of the Netherlands’ biggest literary festivals. “Again, your excellency, we are in 1939, and just as your parliament expressed expectations that it would take at least another century before Indonesians are ready for independence, I am also voicing my expectations that before the end of the next decade, and most likely after a regrettably bloody independence struggle, I will be sitting at the same table with your Queen to discuss the independence of my country and my people.” This imaginary letter from Mohammad Hatta, who at the time was jailed in Banda Naira and later became Indonesia’s first vice president, to then-Dutch prime minister Henrikus Colijn, was penned by Dutch author Reggie Baay.  
Jan 26, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao: Giving outsiders a voice

Growing up, Tiffany Tsao was never in one place long enough to call it home. Her nomadic upbringing had her and her family living in the United States, Singapore and Indonesia and being an American citizen of Indonesian-Chinese descent, she not only found it difficult to establish a physical home, but a cultural one as well. Whenever anyone asked where she was from, she did not know exactly how to respond. “I had to decide what kind of answer to give — the short story or the longer one,” Tiffany told The Jakarta Post via email. “Did I want to explain that I was technically a US citizen? Or that my parents were both ethnic Chinese, but more specifically, part of the Chinese diaspora to Indonesia?”