Works (Originally in English)

A collection of works originally published in English.

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 ...
Mar 15, 2010

A Brief Introduction to Indonesian Poetry

by Hasif Amini
For better or worse, there is only modern Indonesian poetry – and what comes after. There is no such thing as medieval Indonesian poetry, for instance. For, even in the 19th century, let alone in medieval times, there was not yet a country called Indonesia.
Mar 15, 2010

On Goenawan Mohamad’s Poems

by Laksmi Pamuntjak
Even in the salad days of his career, Goenawan’s lyric poems – a genre which one normally associates with youth – were already shot through with the melancholy of age. And subsequently – whether in the restrained aesthetic of the poet’s response to the socialist experiment in Indonesia in the 1960s, in the burning fire of his eight-year tryst with eroticism in the first part of the 1990s, in the brief compulsive, image-chasing period of the short prose poem and the interior monologue of the early millennium, or in the sturdy austerity of the last six years – there is always that singular aloneness: a leitmotif that hints at its faith in Plotinus’ notion of poetry, “the flight of the alone to the alone”. And so these poems often anticipate their own failures and tragedies, refusing to linger on beauty, let alone hope. They are the poems of submerged desire, the sum of an ironic age.
Mar 15, 2010

A Poem in Its Becoming…

by Goenawan Mohamad
Goenawan Mohamad's opening speech at the World Poetry Festival, Kuala Lumpur, 17 August 2004. I would like to thank you for having me here, in this extraordinary gathering of poets, and for giving me the honour to begin our conversation. However, I must confess my nervousness; I know that each time poets get together they become acutely self-conscious of their peculiar trade, especially in today’s world. When words relentlessly multiply, like they do nowadays, the verbal deluge makes us wonder what will happen next to the hidden side of language, which is silence.
Sep 10, 2006

Fire and Son

by Ninda Daianti
On the curb, Saryono sits still, just like usual. It is dark, and the busy road grows thicker with cars and buses. His position is always the same, sitting on the sidewalk. There are two ...
Aug 23, 1999


by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
He united his country and set it free. He liberated his people from a sense of inferiority and made them feel proud to be Indonesian--no small achievement, coming after 350 years of Dutch colonial rule and three-and-a-half years of Japanese occupation. What Sukarno did on Aug. 17, 1945 was no different from what Thomas Jefferson had done for Americans on July 4, 1776. Perhaps even more: Sukarno was the only Asian leader of the modern era able to unify people of such differing ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds without shedding a drop of blood. Compare his record with that of Suharto, his successor, who killed or imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people to establish his New Order regime.