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Apr 08, 2024

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Why Are Indonesians Being Erased from Indonesian Literature?

Writings

Written by Tiffany Tsao, and was originally published in Electric Literature. Apr 11, 2019


What we lose when Indonesian writing is evaluated according to Anglophone preferences. When I entered the world of Indonesian literary translation several years ago, I was blissfully unaware of how dysfunctional it was. (Nor did I suspect that I would eventually become so troubled by its colonialistic aspects that I would write a controversial and impassioned Tweet thread on the subject.) What I’ve found, though, is that unequal power dynamics are determining how literature from Indonesia is being curated for consumption by the English-speaking world. The problem is systemic, evident in the condescending attitudes of Anglophone publishers and advocates of Indonesian fiction and poetry—and also which authors get to regularly represent Indonesia on the international stage.

Read the full article here.

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