The twelve Indonesian writers who will take part in the Cultural Programme of The London Book Fair Market Focus were announced today.
The London Book Fair Cultural programme, delivered by the British Council and partner the Indonesia National Organising Committee, will celebrate the best of contemporary Indonesian writing, including events to meet authors and discuss their work in front of international audiences at The London Book Fair from 12-14 March 2019, in London and across the UK. The writers chosen represent the diversity of Indonesia's literary sector, reflecting the multiple regions, religions, genres, and ages of Indonesian culture and society.
The writers are:
Agustinus Wibowo – A prominent travel writer whose best-selling travel-memoir, Zero: When Journey Takes You Home, will soon be made into a film. Through his work he explores not only other cultures, but also what it means to be Indonesian today.
Clara Ng – An award-winning author, known for both adult fiction and children's literature. She has authored several novels and short story collections, twenty-one children's books, and several collections of fairy tales.
Dewi Lestari – “Dee”—as she is better known—is a bestselling novelist and short story writer whose six-volume Supernova series has been adapted into several hugely popular films. She is also a popular singer-songwriter.
Faisal Oddang – A young and prolific author from Sulawesi who has published an award-winning novel and collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. He has also garnered several national literary prizes and participated in two international residency programmes in 2018.
Intan Paramaditha – Novelist and academic whose literary work explores gender, sexuality, culture and politics. Her short story collection, Apple and Knife will be published in the UK by Harvill Secker later this year, as will her first novel The Wandering, in 2020.
Laksmi Pamuntjak – Poet, novelist and short story writer, she is also known for her food writing. Her first novel, The Question of Red, has been published in several languages and her second novel, The Birdwoman’s Palate, was recently published by Amazon Crossing.
Leila S. Chudori – An award-winning novelist and journalist, she has also written for television and film. Her best-selling first novel, Home, has been translated into six languages and her second novel, The Sea Speaks His Name, has also won national and international praise.
Nirwan Dewanto – Poet, essayist and esteemed cultural critic who has twice won Indonesia’s top literary award for poetry. He has participated in several international residency programmes and samples of his work will appear in the Spring edition of Stand, a UK literary journal.
Norman Erikson Pasaribu – An emerging voice in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His first collection of poetry, Sergius Seeks Bacchus, won a PEN Translates Award and will be published in the UK in March 2019 by Tilted Axis Press.
Reda Gaudiamo – A young adult short story writer who is also a nationally renowned singer, particularly of poems turned into songs. Her adult collection, Tentang Kital/About Us and chapter book for children, The Adventures of Na Willa, will be published in the UK by The Emma Press.
Seno Gumira Ajidarma – A prolific author of non-fiction, short stories, essays, screenplays and reportage. He has won numerous literary awards both in Indonesia and abroad and is well known as a consistent advocate for free speech and freedom of expression.
Sheila Rooswitha Putri – A comics artist well known for her blogs in which she references everyday life in Jakarta and the urban condition. Her unique style has garnered her invitation to numerous conventions and group exhibitions, both in Indonesia and abroad.
Cortina Butler, Director Literature, British Council said: “Indonesian literature deserves to have the widest of international audiences and I am delighted that in this group of authors we have exciting representatives of the rich strands of writing in Indonesia today across generations and genres. This is a very special opportunity to gain insights into some of the leading voices in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and other creative writing and through them into one of the most complex of contemporary nations whose literature is informed by unique history and geography.
"Through the programme of events the authors will be reflecting on themes such as identity, taboo, imagination, myths, storytelling, place and new takes on literary traditions. I hope that publishers, translators, writers and anyone with an interest in the culture of the largest country in South East Asia will take advantage of the chance to engage with these exceptional writers.”
Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair said: “As the first South East Asian country to be Market Focus at The London Book Fair, we are greatly looking forward to hosting Indonesia in 2019; there is a huge interest and appetite across English language publishing and beyond for more content from this region. This is an exciting and diverse author line-up — as you would expect from a country comprising 17,000 islands and 260 million people.
"The London Book Fair Professional programme, designed to encourage more rights deals between Indonesian and international publishers, complements the Cultural Programme. We are looking forward to the first event, the Rights Forum, on 19 November when we welcome Indonesian publishers to London.”
Laura Bangun Prinsloo, Head of the Indonesia National Organising Committee said: “Indonesia’s presence as Market Focus Country at The London Book Fair 2019 marks an especially important moment in the country’s effort to promote Indonesian content abroad. This journey is one that began several years ago and has thus far resulted in the sale of more than 1,000 Indonesian titles to foreign publishers.
"As Market Focus Country, Indonesia hopes to promote exponential growth in the sale of titles—and knowledge of Indonesia—abroad The Cultural Programme brings together talented voices from across our 17,000 islands, offering the opportunity to share with the UK the diverse stories that make up the fabric of Indonesia’s literary imagination.”