by Igo Kleden


UBUD – For its 18th year as Southeast Asia’s leading literary event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has today announced the full list of Main Programs. Joining this year’s Festival are over 130 authors, journalists, artists, and activists. From 8–17 October 2021, they will appear online and on-site in Ubud, Bali.

We are also proud to present a special program of events in Perth, Australia, from 8-10 October 2021, in partnership with Writing Western Australia (Writing WA) with investment from the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries. Ticket sales are now available online on our website.

From Gaza to Gorontalo, Sydney to Singapore, Lampung to Lombok, and dozens of cities in between, the ten-day program of in-conversations, panel discussions, writing workshops, and more will share extraordinary stories and bold ideas through the lens of this year’s theme, Mulat Sarira, interpreted in English as Self-Reflection.

“These are not normal times and many of us are still trying to value and evaluate the turbulence of this journey, to navigate a path to calmness, comfort, and clarity,” commented UWRF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe.

“The Festival will delve into self-reflection and beyond, into cultural retrospection, human rights, animal rights, the environment, and to examine who we are and what unites and divides us.” The winner of the 54th Jnanpith award, Amitav Ghosh, will share the tale of how Western colonialism’s conquest and violent exploitation in the Banda Islands, Maluku, is the origin of climate change’s current dynamics.

He will join the Director-General of Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, Hilmar Farid, to discuss the role of spices in a nation’s development. The Festival also welcomes André Aciman, award-winning author of Call Me by Your Name. He will talk about his latest work, Homo Irrealis, and explore what time means to artists who cannot grasp life in the present. In addition, highly acclaimed poet, Ada Limón, will also explore what it means to live in an imperfect world as she discusses her collection of poems, The Carrying. Following this year’s theme of self-reflection, Australian journalist Julia Baird and Indonesian broadcaster Desi Anwar will share their illuminating journey of selfreflection.

While Balinese author Cok Sawitri will delve deeper into the Balinese philosophy behind Mulat Sarira and its role in literature. In another session, one of the most influential contemporary poets of South Korea Kim Hyesoon will talk about how she gives a voice to death and trauma through her poems in Autobiography of Death. Award-winning author Ruth Ozeki will also share the process of writing The Book of Form and Emptiness, a heart-breaking and humane tale of the chaos of the world and the meaning behind it.

Then, celebrated Indonesian author Ayu Utami, along with Fogarty Award-winner Rebecca Higgie, will share stage and screen with Professor Krishna Sen to explore the use of mythical characters and magic realism in Australian and Indonesian literature.

“This year, we will delve into tangible and imaginary landscapes. To which part of normal do we wish to return and what lessons learned will we take into the future? We are proud to bring you an international platform for cross-cultural discussions, performances, and ideas,” DeNeefe continued.

“If you enjoy extraordinary stories, brave ideas, and unique insights into our beautiful Island, come and share our 18th year with us, and experience the magic we’re now famous for.” ***

By Nancy

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