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Hamsad Rangkuti


Hasyim (“Hamsad”) Rangkuti was born in Titikuning, Medan, North Sumatra, on 7th May 1943, and raised in Kisaran, Asahan, about 200 kilometers to the south. His father was a night watchman and Koranic chanting master; his mother sold fruits in the market and worked as a laborer in a tobacco plantation. He published his first short story in 1959, while still in junior high school. After failing to finish senior high school (he dropped out in 1961), Hamsad worked as a clerk for the Army Headquarters in Medan and then as an editor for the local newspapers Patriot (1963-1965) and Sinar Masyarakat (1965). His political views may have cost him his appointment with the Patriot. Hamsad attended the liberal All-Indonesia Writers Conference in Jakarta in March 1964 as part of a delegation from North Sumatra and was a supporter of the anti-socialist “Cultural Manifesto”, which was banned in May 1964 by President Sukarno.

After the emergence of the New Order of General Suharto, Hamsad moved to Jakarta, firstly to work for the film organization Persatuan Produsen Film Indonesia (1966-1968), and later on the literary magazines Sastra (1968) and Horison (1969-2010), where he eventually rose from caretaker (sleeping overnight in the magazine’s offices) to Chief Editor. He undertook his first formal writing course in 1975.

Hamsad has published three novels: Ketika Lampu Berwarna Merah (When the Lights Shine Red, 2001), which was highly commended in the Jakarta Novel Writing Competition 1981 and carried as a serial in the newspaper Kompas in the same year; the children’s book Kereta Pagi Jam 5 (The 5am Train, 1992); and Klamono (1985) on oil exploration in Irian Jaya. He is the author of four collections of short stories: Lukisan Perkawinan (Portrait of a Marriage, 1982), Cemara (Pine Trees, 1982), Sampah Bulan Desember (December Rubbish, 2000) and Bibir Dalam Pispot (Lips in the Chamber Pot, 2003).

Among his many prizes are the Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2003 and the SEA Write Award (Thailand), 2008. Both of these awards were made in recognition of Lips in the Chamber Pot.1

  1. BWW 


Lips in the Chamber Pot
Collection of Short Stories
120 page(s),
Bibir dalam Pispot
(Lips on the Chamber Post)
Collection of Short Stories
174 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas
Sampah Bulan Desember
(December's Garbage)
Collection of Short Stories
159 page(s), Penerbit Buku Kompas

In the Headlines

Literary scene mourns the death of Hamsad Rangkuti

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Aug 28, 2018

Literary legend Hamsad Rangkuti dies at 75

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Aug 26, 2018

Hamsad Rangkuti: Long journey of a short-story master

Jakarta Post / What Media Says
Sep 27, 2008

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