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Putu Oka Sukanta


Born Singaraja, Bali (Jul 29, 1939), currently resides in Jakarta
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One of the Indonesia’s literary figures. He wrote poetry, short stories and novels while still in Bali and after he moved to Yogyakarta and Jakarta. In 1966 during the time of New Order (Indonesia), he imprisoned because he had been considered as a member of LEKRA (one of the organizations of Communist Party of Indonesia PKI) without trial. After his release in 1976, he has come to be known as a writer, journalist and an expert in the field of traditional medicine as well.

In 1982 and 1983, Putu had an opportunity to attend the Popular Theatre Workshop in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Some of his works are published in foreign languages. He is also a contributing editor and a senior staff member of an alternative magazines. They are also available in Indonesian Progressive Contemporary Poetry (Indonesia, 1963), The Prison Where I Live (London, 1996), Voice of Consciences (USA, 1995), Bali Behind The Seen (Australia, 1997), Black Cloud Over Paradise Isle (USA, 1997), Manageri IV (Indonesia, 1998), and Silenced Voices (Hawaii, 2000).

He is also the producer of many documentary films, one of which portrays the social impact of the tragic events of 1965 when hundreds of thousands of Indonesians fell victim to nationwide massacres.

Besides being known as a writer, he expertised in the field of traditional medicine. During the time being captured in Salemba jail, Putu studied acupuncture and acupressure from a Chinese doctor who placed in the same cell. After his release from prison in 1978, he went to Taipei and Hong Kong to deepen the knowledge. In 1980, he established the Foundation for Traditional Medicine in Indonesia. He was married to Endah Lasmadiwati in 1987. In 1990, he was put back in jail due to his efforts to teach traditional medicine on the people suspected by the government. Throughout the New Order regime, he was never released from surveillance even while abroad. After his release from prison, Putu and his wife continued to gather herbs grown in Indonesia for their foundation. His expertise in acupuncture and herbs has taken him around the world in 23 countries. Now Putu Oka Sukanta to the Central Executive of the Association of Indonesian Naturopath Ikatan Naturopatis Indonesia. The Foundation facilitates to conduct research on traditional treatment methods for patients with HIV / AIDS.1

  1. Wikipedia 


Rindu Terluka
Collection of Short Stories
151 page(s), Metafor Publishing

What Media Say

The isolation poems by Putu Oka Sukanta by Kiernan Box by Vannessa Hearman — Inside Indonesia (Oct 09, 2021)
A drink for humanity by Pat Walsh — Inside Indonesia (Feb 20, 2017)
Putu Oka Sukanta and poetry from prison by Zoe Reynolds — Jakarta Post (Jul 25, 2013)

Also Mentioned in ...

Where are all the Indonesian writers? by Pamela Allen - National Centre for Writing (Feb 22, 2019)
Five Minutes With… Pam Allen - UWRF News (May 07, 2017)
Let Bygones Be Bygones by Prodita Sabarini - Asia Literary Review (Nov 01, 2015)
75 Notable Translations of 2014 by The Editors of WLT - World Literature Today (Dec 23, 2014)


Lifting Dignity: A Short Note of Putu Oka Sukanta

Books in Translation(s) / Editing(s)

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