What Media Says

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

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.
Jan 02, 2021 / Jakarta Post
on Feby Indirani

Bye 2020 & Cheers to a healthy New Year

For me, 2020 was the year to acknowledge grief, personally and collectively, and learning to embrace it while trying to manage it. I lost a cousin and four friends, and I guess most people I know have lost one or more people in their lives, and it was devastating. […] We’d rather deny and hide our grief than sit [down] with it and listen to what it has to say. The year 2020 pushed us to look at grief in the eye. […] At the beginning of 2020, I called it “the year of motion”, in the sense that I would move a lot physically around cities and countries, which ironically turned out to be exactly the opposite.
Nov 16, 2020 / Liminal Magazine
on Tiffany Tsao

Interview #154 — Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao is a writer and literary translator living in Sydney. She is the author of the novel Under Your Wings and the Oddfits fantasy series. She also translates poetry and prose from Indonesian to English; her translations include Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collection, Sergius Seeks Bacchus, for which she was awarded the 2017 PEN Presents prize and the 2018 PEN Translates prize. Prior to her work in the publishing world, Tiffany received a Ph.D. in English Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and was a lecturer at University of Newcastle. Tiffany spoke to Whitney McIntosh about fantasy fiction, the art of translating, and what you should be reading in 2021.
Nov 09, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Eka Kurniawan

Eka Kurniawan: A modest literary star

It is fair to say that Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan is a modest literary star. He has gained more public attention since the English version of his novel Lelaki Harimau (Man Tiger) was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. In 2019, he won the Prince Claus Award in the literary category. His works have been translated into 35 languages. When interviewed virtually on the sidelines of KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival, Eka talked in simple words, conveying his ideas in a very soft-spoken and relaxed manner, while peppering his answers with playful jokes here and there.
Nov 06, 2020 / Electric Literature
on Tiffany Tsao

7 Literary Translators You Need to Know

From Indonesian to Brazilian Portuguese, here are the translators who are making contemporary world literature accessible to English readers. Tiffany Tsao: Indonesian to English Indonesian was the language of the elders in Tiffany Tsao’s Chinese Indonesian family. Tsao, who was born in California and grew up in Indonesia and Singapore, reimmersed herself in the language while working on her Ph.D. in English at UC Berkeley. The now Sydney-based Tsao’s translations include Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collection Sergius Seeks Bacchus, Dee Lestari’s novel Paper Boats, and Laksmi Pamuntjak’s The Birdwoman’s Palate. She’s currently translating a collection of short stories by Budi Darma, called Orang-Orang Bloomington, or The People of Bloomington, set in Bloomington, Indiana (read one of the stories here). Also on the way is a collection of Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s short stories, Happy Stories, Mostly (check out at Catapult and The White Review). After that, Tsao will switch translation seats—her own English-language novel, The Majesties, will be translated into Indonesian by Norman Erikson Pasaribu.