Indonesian Writer & Activist Ayu Utami: ‘I love Indonesia with Pain in my Heart’

What Media Says

About Ayu Utami,
Written by Yvette Benningshof, and was originally published in Latitudes,
May 23, 2012

Questioning politics, human behavior and her own religion made Ayu Utami into a taboo breaking writer, journalist and activist. She gained instant success with her groundbreaking debut ‘Saman’, that was published just before the fall of Suharto in 1998. Her most recent novel ‘Bilangan Fu’ is dedicated to ‘Indonesia, that I love with pain in my heart.’ The question ‘Why?’ is the main drive for the most famous female author of Indonesia Ayu Utami. ‘I’m interested in the dark side of humanity. Why do people do what they do?’, she says at the Tong Tong Festival in The Netherlands. That is probably why she started off as a journalist for several newspapers. When Suharto banned magazines like ‘Tempo’ in 1994, Utami joined the ‘Alliance of Independent Journalists’ to protest against the ban.

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