Book Stories

In a year without travel, this Indonesian author lets you choose your own adventure

Mar 24, 2021 / The Wandering
The story starts with a pair of red shoes and a deal with the devil. But where it ends is up to reader — sort of. That's the concept behind Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha's latest novel, The Wandering. It's been longlisted for the Stella Prize — Australia's book award for women and non-binary authors — which this year features the most diverse array of writers in its eight-year history.

Announcing the 2021 Stella Prize Shortlist

Mar 22, 2021 / Stone Sky Gold Mountain
Stella’s judges — Zoya Patel (Chair), Jane Harrison, Elizabeth McCarthy, Ian See and Tamara Zimet — have selected six exceptional books for the 2021 Stella Prize shortlist. Spanning fiction and non-fiction, the six titles shortlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize invite readers to reach beyond their own perceptions, to question social and political systems, and to examine their place in the world. In alphabetical order of author surname, the 2021 Stella Prize shortlist is: Fathoms: the world in the whale by Rebecca Giggs (Scribe Publications)  Revenge: Murder in Three Parts by S.L. Lim (Transit Lounge) The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay (Scribe Publications) Witness by Louise Milligan (Hachette Australia) Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press) The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld (Penguin Random House)

Stonewall tak Mampir di Atlantis: Mystifying Indonesian Queerness

Mar 22, 2021 / Stonewall Tak Mampir di Atlantis
Who does not even know Hendri Yulius? A rising star whose expertise in (Indonesian) gender and queer studies is deservedly earned. He is well known not only for his non-fiction books like C*bul or Intimate Assemblage but also his fictional narration. Under the radar, Hendri (as what we normally call him) also wrote a collection of queer poems and published them under the title Stonewall tak Mampir di Atlantis (Stonewall does not stop in Atlantis). The series of poems were imagined from his contemplation during the COVID-19 that keeps raging each day. These poems also echohis concern about the condition of Indonesian queer and LGBT that can be considered as “too timid to live, but unwilling to resist.” The book is divided into three parts with total of 69 poems. Such a perfect number for a collection of Indonesian queerness. Ha!

Sambal dan Ranjang: Sex Over Sambal?

Mar 10, 2021 / Sambal dan Ranjang
Most of the Indonesian literature enthusiasts may not yet familiar with Tenni Purwanti even Tenni – as what we often call her; she was one of the notable writers in Emerging Indonesian Writers, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in 2015. Went unnoticed for some time, it later takes a while for Tenni to enrich Indonesian literary scene with the book Sambal dan Ranjang simply translated as Chili Paste and Bed in English published by one of the Indonesian publishing magnates Gramedia in October 2020. The book is a compilation of sixteen short stories, in which the allegories and narrations functions as a social critique toward multiple issues in Indonesian society.

Stella prize 2021: finalists ‘span the gamut’ of human enterprise and experience

Mar 04, 2021 / Stone Sky Gold Mountain The Wandering
A slew of debut works feature among the finalists in the 2021 Stella prize. The longlist for the annual literary award for Australian female and non-binary writers was announced on Thursday evening. Short fiction, a collection of essays, and a novel translated from Indonesian to English (Intan Paramaditha’s The Wandering) are among the longlist nominations.

Rahasia Salinem

Mar 03, 2021 / Rahasia Salinem
It’s honestly not an easy book to make a review of, not because I’ve never heard of the writers before, nor is it because I wasn’t aware of its existence (I blame it on my lack of exposure to publishers other than the major ones). It’s simply because Rahasia Salinem is just too good to start to write about. Yes, this might have something to do with subjectivity (the cultural background being Javanese and the setting being in Sukoharjo, exactly where I live in), but on the other hand, and despite whatever identity the reader has and wherever they live, this book has one of the best stories I’ve ever read with one of the best (female) characters I’ve ever encountered. It’s not about choosing love over the other, it’s about choosing “what kind of love” you want to keep for the rest of your life.

The Book of Jakarta – Edited by Maesy Ang & Teddy W. Kusuma

Feb 06, 2021 / The Book of Jakarta: A City in Short Fiction
Jakarta, the city I used to call home for over a decade, is now out of reach for me. I have struggled with homesickness ever since I – voluntarily – relocated to Berlin in March 2018, but this feeling was amplified over the last year: since the pandemic took hold of our lives, getting on an airplane and traveling to the other side of the world is simply not in the cards. The cold and grey winter in Berlin doesn’t exactly help either. I have taken comfort in the fact that I can still connect with my family and friends via WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype or one of the many other online options (or even by sending letters and postcards via snail mail), and I am grateful for that.

‘Hunting for Muhammad’: Feby Indirani seeks to transcend political polarization

Jan 24, 2021 / Memburu Muhammad
Feby Indirani has distinguished herself as an author who is capable of presenting the lives of Indonesian Muslims through an intimate and sympathetic eye. Although her short stories, particularly the ones published in her debut anthology Bukan Perawan Maria (Not the Virgin Mary, 2017), also tackle the tricky issue of Islamic fundamentalism, she is able to capture the complex nuances of the Muslim fundamentalists' lives.  The stories in the first anthology consist of various tales, ranging from a woman who realizes she has lost her nose after wearing a niqab for quite a long time to a very devout Muslim who is shocked upon being questioned by angels in his native language instead of in Arabic.

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2021: Debuts and Female voices dominate Longlist

Jan 22, 2021 / Rendang
The international longlist for one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers – the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize – is announced today, featuring a record number of nine debut writers.

The Book of Jakarta

Jan 22, 2021 / The Book of Jakarta: A City in Short Fiction
‘The heart of the city was still beating, even though it’s body had been paralysed’. I’ve always wondered what it meant to describe a city as being ‘alive’. Off the top of my head I think of a pre-pandemic Friday night in Soho! But what gives a city its energy, its lifeblood, its power; what gives it its ‘heart’? The Book of Jakarta - a collection of short stories centered around the Indonesian capital - attempts to answer this question through its exploration of city life from a variety of perspectives and voices.