What Media Says


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


Apr 18, 2021 / Latitudes
on Sitor Situmorang

In Search of a Lost Fatherland (1) Rudy Kousbroek and Sitor Situmorang about Sumatra

Few knew how to describe the atmosphere as well as Rudy Kousbroek and Sitor Situmorang, a Dutchman and an Indonesian. Two writers, of the same generation, both from Sumatra. One born in the village of Harianboho near Lake Toba, the other in Pematang Siantar. They were born in Indonesia and knew the country and the culture from childhood, they wrote their story “from the inside out”, as it were, which gave their description even more depth. In their youth they never met, in later years they became friends, it was remarkable how much appreciation they had for each other. Kousbroek wrote rave reviews about Situmorang’s oeuvre and the latter dedicated a poem to Rudy Kousbroek for his 70th birthday. Now they have both passed away, Rudy Kousbroek in 2010 and Sitor Situmorang in 2014. But they live on in their work.
Apr 12, 2021 / Tempo English
on Julia Suryakusuma

Julia and Feminism

Julia Suryakusuma received an award from the Kingdom of Belgium for her struggle to voice human rights through writing. She is uncomfortable with being called a feminist. "JULIA, have you ever been decorated?" asked the Belgian Ambassador to Indonesia, Stephane de Loecker, to Julia Suryakusuma in early 2020. Hearing the word "decorated", she imagined rows of colorful lights. Jokingly, Julia answered her friend's question."You mean decorated like a Christmas tree?", said Julia, recounting her conversation with De Loecker, last Tuesday, April 6.
Mar 23, 2021 / Asian Books Blog
on Toeti Heraty

Through Teachers’ Eyes: Bringing Asian Poetry into the Classroom

ANN ANG on TOETI HERATY Pronouns are powerful. In a poem, “I” signals to readers and listeners that the speaker is present, whereas “You” immediately establishes a mode of address, filling the page with the charged energies of a distinctive relationship between addresser and addressee; between a speaker and an intended audience. Depending on the poem being discussed, the mode of address can be very revealing of attitudes towards self-and-other, especially when we further consider cultural attitudes towards naming and interaction in various Asian contexts.  In a recent online workshop on the anthology Poetry Moves, a cross-cultural educational resource for young people, participants and I enjoyed discussing an Indonesian poem, “Two Women”, by Toeti Heraty, in its English translation from the Bahasa. As the title suggests, the poem is about friendship between women, who are neighbours and the text delves into the shadowy undercurrents that belie everyday courtesies.
Mar 22, 2021 / Macquarie University
on Intan Paramaditha

10 questions with … Intan Paramaditha

Intan Paramaditha grew up in Indonesia before travelling to the USA as a Fulbright Scholar to complete a MA in English Literature at the University of California San Diego, and a PhD in Cinema Studies at New York University. She has lectured in film and screen studies at Macquarie since 2016, with a research focus on global cinema and media, feminism and cultural activism. She is also an acclaimed fiction writer, with her most recent work The Wandering longlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize.
Mar 17, 2021 / Books+Publishing
on Mirandi Riwoe

‘Superstar’ Mirandi Riwoe among Australian fiction acquisitions

University of Queensland Press publisher Aviva Tuffield describes author Mirandi Riwoe as a ‘superstar who deserves all the recognition she’s received to date for Stone Sky Gold Mountain—and I’m sure there’s more to come’. The publisher has acquired world rights to two new books from the award-winning author: the short story collection Somewhere Between and the historical novel Sunbirds. Sunbirds is set in Indonesia in 1941 during World War II and follows airline pilot Matthias, who is conscripted into a squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force. First, though, he is given the opportunity to relocate his loved ones to safety in Australia. Will he rescue his fiancee, Wilhelmina, a young Eurasian woman at risk, or Diah, the Indonesian woman he truly loves? Tuffield said, ‘Sunbirds will be a gripping and nuanced reimagining of an historical era, yet again putting a human face to the impacts of colonialism and war, and the violence and racism those entail.’
Mar 16, 2021 / Personal Blog
on Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Taking Fear for a (Fast) Ride

About 15 years ago, I wrote a profile about a jewelry designer. After the article was published, she was ecstatic and surprised me with a necklace she designed especially for me. She said the article impacted her life in some wonderful way. We agreed to meet over a cup of coffee so she could elaborate. Unfortunately, time went by and I never heard from her again. However, whenever I feel defeated as a writer, I remember the woman and delight in the thought that something I wrote changed this complete stranger’s life in a positive way. (I just wish I knew what it was!) I write all this to say that a few months ago, the table turned and an Indonesian writer, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, changed my life in an unimaginably huge proportion through his short story, So What’s Your Name, Sandra?
Mar 11, 2021 / Jakarta Post
on Julia Suryakusuma

Belgium honors Indonesian feminist writer Julia Suryakusuma

Belgium has conferred a royal honor on Indonesian feminist writer Julia Suryakusuma for her efforts to advance various human rights causes. During a ceremony held at the ambassadorial residence in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, Belgian Ambassador to Indonesia Stéphane de Loecker presented Julia the Order of the Crown on behalf of Belgium’s King Philippe. The ambassador said in his remarks that the award was a "highly regarded honorific distinction only rarely attributed to non-Belgian personalities of particular merit". “Your writing always has a unique flavor, mixing your broad experience and an acute sense of observation and analysis of political and social life over the years with a freedom of thinking that is becoming unusual in these times of gregarian behavior and simplified thinking, dictated by social media,” Loecker said during the ceremony, which was also streamed live. 
Jan 26, 2021 / T
on Erni Aladjai

The Writer Who Challenges the Notion that ‘Asian Novels’ Are a Monolith

Southeast Asian literature is often seen as a monolith — this, despite the fact that the subregion consists of 11 countries, each bearing an immeasurable number of unique cultures and languages. Indonesian writer Erni Aladjai is deeply familiar with the discourse. She says that the lack of distinction between literature within Southeast Asia is due to a lack of awareness.
Jan 08, 2021 / Australian, The
on Norman Erikson Pasaribu

When Sergius meets Bacchus

Myth, Joseph Campbell once said, is the “homeland of the muses”: a polite way of saying that poets, artists and musicians have plundered more than their fair share of Biblical narratives and Greek and Roman myths. Shakespeare was so enamoured of Ovid’s treasury of myths in the encyclopaedic Metamorphoses that he not only mined them for material — most prominently, the stories of Venus and Adonis, Pyramus and Thisbe, and Philomel — but he also even had characters in two plays, Cymbeline and Titus Andronicus, mention reading the Metamorphoses. Contemporary poets are no different: the recently-anointed Nobel Laureate in literature, Louise Glück, has built a body of work centred on classical myths, including the queen of the underworld, Persephone, and Odysseus’s long-suffering wife, Penelope. This week’s poet, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, draws on a fascinating myth from a Greek passion as a backdrop to his debut collection, Sergius Seeks Bacchus (Giramondo), translated by Tiffany Tsao: that of the Christian martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, who, as the myth goes, were executed by the anti-Christian Roman emperor Galerius Maximianus.
Jan 07, 2021 / NOW!Jakarta
on Laksmi Pamuntjak

A Literary Interview with Laksmi Pamuntjak, Celebrated Indonesian Novelist

Laksmi Pamuntjak (1971 - ) is a bilingual Indonesian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, and food critic. She writes opinion and features articles for numerous Indonesian publications as Tempo and the Jakarta Post, as well as international publications such as South China Morning Post, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Die Welt. Laksmi’s first bestselling novel, Amba/The Question of Red, won Germany’s LiBeraturpreis 2016 and was named #1 on Germany’s Weltempfaenger list of the best works of fiction from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Arab World translated into German.The novel has been translated into several languages. Laksmi recently met with Alistair Speirs Now! Jakarta’s publisher at Amuz Gourmet Restaurant for lunch and a far-ranging chat about her extraordinary career.
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