Works (Originally in English)

A collection of works originally published in English.

Dec 17, 2015

A Bloody Past: On Censorship in Indonesia

by Eliza Vitri Handayani
On October 23, I received news from the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: due to warnings from local police, the festival had to cancel sessions related to 1965 anti-communist massacres and their aftermath. I was ...
Nov 11, 2015

Being silenced in Ubud

by Andina Dwifatma
The recent Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) 2015 controversy raises the question: Whatever happened to our much-vaunted freedom of speech? Three discussion sessions related to communism and 1965 were canceled, including a panel on ...
Oct 27, 2015

Censorship is returning to Indonesia in the name of the 1965 purges

by Laksmi Pamuntjak
A week ago I received a message from Janet DeNeefe, director of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. “I just wanted to let you know that the UWRF is being censored this year, and we have been told to remove all programs to do with ‘1965’,” she wrote. “Or else next year they will not give us a permit to hold the festival.”
Oct 21, 2015

Frankfurt Book Fair: Indonesian authors on fire!

by Julia Suryakusuma
What comes to people’s mind when they hear the name “Indonesia”? In the past it was Islamic extremist terrorism, currently it’s Indonesia’s gigantic forest fires that are contributing to global warming, featuring 94,192 fires in ...
Oct 13, 2015

Road Trip to NaNo: Exploring the Writer’s Heritage

by Eve Shi
First, a disclaimer: Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. I live in Bogor, a town near Jakarta, the capital. The past write-ins I’ve been a part of have mostly taken place in Jakarta. However, thanks ...
Sep 24, 2015

Why I Wrote a Novel About Indonesian Political Exiles

by Leila S. Chudori
‘For me, who grew up and became an adult during the New Order period, I was conscious of a historical and political absurdity. I began to feel that there were some Indonesians who had become invisible.’ The year was 1988 and I had traveled to Paris on my way back home to Jakarta after graduating from Trent University in Ontario, Canada. At Rue de Vaugirard, in Paris’s sixth arrondissement, stood the restaurant Indonésia, a cooperative set up six years prior, in 1982, by Indonesian political exiles who had fled to Paris in the 1960s: Oemar Said, Sobron Aidit, J.J. Kusni, and Sudharsono. It was through my encounter with that restaurant that the novel Pulang or Home was born.
Aug 26, 2015

Right or wrong: my country or my religion?

by Julia Suryakusuma
How much does religion influence the decisions you make in life? For “Fikri”, a Muslim, religion is the measuring stick against which he evaluates everything. He complained to me about “Freddie”, who he considers to ...
Nov 21, 2014

The Look of Silence and Indonesia’s dark mirror

by Intan Paramaditha
With eyes fixed on his television screen, Adi Rukun, the main character followed by documentary maker Joshua Oppenheimer in his new film, The Look Of Silence, seems to face a mirror that resurrects a nightmarish ...
Dec 20, 2013

Labyrinth of Violence

by Triyanto Triwikromo
I know that when the time comes you’ll seek me out. Like the great explorers, you’ll trace my every step. It won’t be easy, because I’ve been silent for years, and for years I’ve kept ...
Jul 01, 2013

Me, Islam and Literature

by Linda Christanty
He was astonished when he discovered I was a Muslim. He was a member of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, an Englishman whose name I’ve forgotten. I was contributing to a discussion at ...