Ayu Utami


She was born in Bogor (Nov 21, 1968), and currently lives in Jakarta

View her profile on Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter

She has written novels, short-stories, and articles. Saman (1998) is widely considered her masterpiece. It was translated into English by Pamela Allen in 2005. By writing about sex and politics, Utami addressed issues formerly forbidden to Indonesian women, a change referred to as sastra wangi.1

When she was a girl, after winning a beauty contest, she refused a career as a model, preferring to study and work in culture. A founding member of the Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists, a militant against the censorship of information, Ayu Utami currently works for several cultural reviews and magazines.2

Utami’s prose is lively and modern, and as such reflects the richness of the Indonesian oral tradition. The author masterfully switches between various narrative perspectives, locations and time scales, links dream sequences and old myths with descriptions of the political and societal relations in Indonesia in the 1990’s.3

Today Ayu is the co-publisher of the culture magazine Kalam.4

  1. Wikipedia 

  2. Metropoli D’Asia 

  3. Culture Base 

  4. International Museum of Women 


Pengakuan: Eks Parasit Lajang
(The Confession)
328 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
Cerita Cinta Enrico
(Enrico's Love Story)
244 page(s), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia (KPG)
Smokol: Cerpen Kompas Pilihan 2008
Collection of Short Stories
169 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
Si Parasit Lajang: Seks, Sketsa, & Cerita
(The Single Parasite)
180 page(s), Gagas Media

What Media Say

Bookworm: Reading for Writing by Ika Krismantari — Jakarta Post (Jun 08, 2015)
Ayu Utami: Do Publishers Still Matter for Authors? — International Publishers Association (Feb 26, 2015)
Ayu Utami: Explores her spiritual side by Prodita Sabarini — Jakarta Post (Jul 06, 2008)

Also Mentioned in ...

Five Minutes With… Pam Allen - UWRF News (May 07, 2017)
Rethinking Censorship in Indonesia by Tiffany Tsao - Sydney Review of Books (Nov 06, 2015)
A many-headed machine by Hendrik Maier - Inside Indonesia (Jul 17, 2015)
New aromas by Meghan Downes - Inside Indonesia (Jul 17, 2015)
Putting the Word Out by Nithin Coca - Southeast Asia Globe (Oct 30, 2014)


Sydney Writers’ Festival: Mistakes We’ve Made and Other Lessons in Feminism