What Media Says


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


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.
Sep 21, 2020 / Peoples Dispatch
on Martin Aleida

The Lekra Spirit Lives: Martin Aleida on Indonesia’s Revolutionary Cultural Group

Designer Tings Chak spoke with Indonesian writer Martin Aleida about Lekra and the legacy of repression of left movements in Indonesia. “It was the worst when I was released. That’s the biggest prison I had to face.” Martin Aleida recalls the moment he was released from prison at the end of 1966. The then 22-year-old writer emerged from nearly a year behind bars to a Jakarta where his friends could not be found. His workplace, Harian Rakyat (‘The People’s Daily’), the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was no longer. His Party and cultural organization, Lekra, was banned – and they have been illegal ever since. Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research reached out to the now 76-year-old Martin, three months into the pandemic. Though a North Sumatra native, Martin has lived in Jakarta since the early 1960s, where he responded to us via Facebook at a local library that he frequents every Saturday.
Sep 17, 2020 / Netherlandsandyou.nl
on Eka Kurniawan

Interview with Indonesian Author Eka Kurniawan

Eka Kurniawan, a famous Indonesian author who won the Dutch Prince Claus Award in 2018 for capturing the distinctiveness of Indonesian culture in his works. Eka Kurniawan, “Winning the prize gave me a priceless experience, it gave me new insights on literature and the world in a larger sense.” We asked him some questions on how he is doing after winning this prize.
Sep 17, 2020 / The Journal
on Felix K. Nesi

What Felix Nesi Does and Thinks When He Writes

What makes you love writing and feel the need to write? And why literature? I like writing. When I was at university, I was a part of the university press. I learned journalism. Now, my friends and I are parts of “Komunitas Leko” creating citizen journalism, and we have a website LekoNTT.com. So, literature is not really a final stage for me. I heard that you hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology. How does it affect your writings especially when you create the characters in your novel? I started my bachelor’s degree in Indonesian Literature at Sanata Dharma University, but it was so expensive that my parents could not afford it. I really wanted to go to university, so when I saw another institution offered a cheaper option to study psychology, I took that opportunity. It might have influenced me, but I’m not really sure.
Aug 14, 2020 / Libro.fm Blog
on Tiffany Tsao

Translator Interview: Tiffany Tsao

During Women in Translation Month, we want to highlight some of the excellent and often unsung work done by literary translators around the world to bring international stories to the US and other primarily English-speaking countries. This week, we spoke to translator and author Tiffany Tsao. Her translations from Indonesian to English include Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collection Sergius Seeks Bacchus, for which she won the English PEN Presents and English PEN Translates awards. Tiffany Taso’s novel, The Majesties, came out in the U.S. earlier this year, and she is also the author of the Oddfits fantasy series.
Aug 12, 2020 / Jakarta Post
on Sapardi Djoko Damono

Sapardi Djoko Damono’s book of never-before-seen poems for his wife released

A book consisting of 80 poems written by the late celebrated poet Sapardi Djoko Damono for his wife Sonya Sondakh was officially launched by publisher Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU) on Monday. Sapardi spent two years preparing the book, which he titled mBoel, Sonya's nickname, and planned for its release on her birthday in August before he passed away in July, according to a statement received by The Jakarta Post. “He planned all of it himself,” said Sonya. “It was a part of his entire plan for 2020.”
Aug 06, 2020 / Bookseller, The
on Khairani Barokka

Bernard and Barokka named National Centre for Writing associate artists

Ted Hughes Award winner Jay Bernard and Indonesian poet Khairani Barokka have been named associate artists at the National Centre for Writing (NCW). Supported by by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, they will be helped to create new work, explore collaborations and work closely with the centre's audience. Bernard is a writer from London whose Surge: Side A (Speaking Volumes) won the Ted Hughes Award in 2018. Debut collection Surge was published in 2019 and shortlisted for a string of awards. Barokka is an Indonesian writer and artist based in London who is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches), author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Access), and writer of debut poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches).
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.
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