AA Navis


He was born in Padang Panjang (Nov 17, 1924), and died in Padang (Mar 22, 2003)

Ali Akbar Navis was a prominent Indonesian author, poet and humorist.

Navis showed signs of creativity from a young age. Before discovering his talents as a writer, he was an accomplished flautist and viola player. He was also a skilled painter. After graduating from the Indonesisch Nederlandsche School (INS) – a Dutch language teachers’ school in Kayu Tanam in 1945, he began work as head of production at a Japanese-owned porcelain factory.[1]

His skill as a writer led to his appointment on the Central Sumatra Cultural Committee from 1953–55, and his good English language skills meant he was often asked to assist foreign scholars studying Minangkabau culture.

Navis rose to prominence with the story Surau Kami in 1955, which was voted one of the three best stories of the year by the literary magazine, Kisah. The story was considered very brave in criticizing the pious who neglect the poor. His collection of short stories was released under the same title in 1956 and has been translated into English, German and Japanese.

Navis taught many other writers while producing his own short stories, novels, poetry, children’s stories, radio plays and essays on cultural and social problems. He wrote 22 books, plus five anthologies with other poets, and eight anthologies abroad. He also composed 106 papers for academic publishers and activities at home and abroad. They were later collected in the book A Walk Along the Way.