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Feb 15, 2024

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Feb 10, 2024

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Feb 05, 2024

Ayu Utami

Writer



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 


In the Headlines


7 Indonesian Novels in Translation That Push Boundaries

Electric Literature / All Things Books
Sep 14, 2023

Five Minutes With… Pam Allen

UWRF News / As Seen On
May 07, 2017

Rethinking Censorship in Indonesia

Sydney Review of Books / As Seen On
Nov 06, 2015

IDWRITERS

Jakarta Post / As Seen On
Oct 18, 2015

World meet Indonesian literature at the Buchmesse

Il manifesto / As Seen On
Oct 15, 2015

A many-headed machine

Inside Indonesia / As Seen On
Jul 17, 2015

New aromas

Inside Indonesia / As Seen On
Jul 17, 2015

IDWRITERS

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Jun 08, 2015

Ayu Utami: Do Publishers Still Matter for Authors?

International Publishers Association / What Media Says
Feb 26, 2015

Putting the Word Out

Southeast Asia Globe / As Seen On
Oct 30, 2014

Indonesia as Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honor in 2015

Publishing Perspectives / As Seen On
Jul 16, 2013

Ayu Utami: On the fine line between audacity and honesty

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Oct 06, 2012

IDWRITERS

Daily Star, The / What Media Says
Dec 01, 2008

Ayu Utami: Explores her spiritual side

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Jul 06, 2008

A Young Novelist Challenges Indonesia’s Taboos

New York Times / What Media Says
May 27, 2000


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