A Meeting of minds and words: the 2008 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

It was truly a meeting of minds and words…. It is festivals like these that continue to remind us that the work we do is crucial and integral to defining and redefining the world around us. Bernice Chauly, poet Malaysia.

The 2008 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival drew a close on Tuesday 21 October, with an elegant evening by the sea at the Sofitel Seminyak, featuring John Berendt, author of the bestselling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

With John Berendt & Janet De Neefe
This entertaining in-conversation event concluded what had been an unforgettable few days of literature and ideas not only from Indonesia and South East Asia but around the world.

This year’s program was the largest ever, with over 150 events featuring 21 Indonesian authors and 60 international guests from countries as far a field as Jordan, Ireland, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, India, the Philippines, New Zealand and Canada.

Audiences responded enthusiastically and the festival recorded a 30 % increase in attendances, with special events and workshops selling out.

With Vikram Seth
Highlights of the program included interviews with the inimitable Vikram Seth, who had won the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his epic of Indian life, A suitable Boy (1993).

Also presents Indonesia literary star Andrea Hirata, Chinese authors Lijia Zhang and Geling Yan, winner of the Arabic Booker Prize Bahaa Taher, The recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize Helena Norberg-Hodge, former East Timorese resistance leader Naldo Rei and the effusive Mexican novelist Alberto Ruy-Sanchez. Night-time entertainment was as ebullient as ever, with many new and dynamic events featured in the program. A trio of outrageous Australian performance poets Tug Dumbly, Benito di Fonzo and Edwina Blush stole the show on many occasions.

With Bahaa Taher, an Eqyptian novelist
With Helena Norberg-Hodge, Gouri Mirpuri & Kristina Holdaway
Helena Norberg-Hodge is a pioneer of the worldwide localization movement and a leading analyst of the impact of the global economy on culture and agriculture.

This year’s theme Tri Hita Karana was explored in a number of sessions addressing issues of spirituality, humanity and the environment. Panel debates and discussions on Pluralism & Religious Tolerance in Indonesia; Conservation Challenges in 21st Century Indonesia; Writing About Africa; Inside the Sex Trade; and Killing People for Killing People; Writing the Death Sentences, drew record crowds to the festival’s three main venues: Indus Restaurant, HSBC Lounge and the Neka Art Museum.
With Desi Anwar & Ayu Utami
Ayu Utami’s first novel, Saman, was awarded the Prince Claus Prize in the year 2000.

Next year’s festival will be held mid-October 2009. Dates will be released shortly, along with the festival’s 2009 theme, on the UWRF website: www.ubudwriterfestival.com

Source: UWRF Newsletter November 2008


Suka Duka di Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2009

No comments :