Since it was first held in 1979, the Jakarta Arts Council's Sayembara Novel ('Novel Competition') has produced a number of novels and spawned influential writers in the Indonesian literary world.


First held in 1979, the Jakarta Arts Council's Sayembara Novel ('Novel Competition'), titled 'Romance Writing Competition' at that time, was once discontinued in 1980. According to the Chairman of the DKJ Literary Committee at that time, Abdul Hadi WM, it was due to the fact that the quality of the novel-writing contest had declined.

The competition was changed to a literary prize award in 1981-1984. In the period 1984-1996, DKJ did not give literary prizes or hold novel competitions. In 1997-1998, the novel competition was held again, then continued in 2003 and 2006.

Novel competitions are held regularly every two years since 2016. For 45 years (1979-2019), this competition has published 89 influential novel titles and has been attended by more than 2,000 participants throughout Indonesia.

Recently, the novel entitled 'Kereta Semar Lembu' by Zaky Yamani has been named the winner of the 2021 Jakarta Arts Council Novel Competition. The novels that won the contest were judged to demonstrate their ability to tell stories, explore written forms, and develop ideas. The winning works are expected to represent the spirit of the era of the Indonesian literary world.

How Zaky Yamani stood out

According to competition jury member, novelist Ziggy Zesyazeoviennazabrizkie, this novel has a unique idea that has been successfully developed into a coherent story. The story is considered interesting because it collects various events from the supernatural and real, myths and history, rational and irrational things, different time settings, and various characters.

"This novel shows the paradoxes, ambivalence, and contradictions that exist in the world of appreciation of the Indonesian people," said Ziggy on the announcement night of the 2021 DKJ Novel Competition, which was held online on Friday (28/1/2022) night.

She added that the novel describes the myths, history, and anxieties that usually arise in society in unusual stories. The 'Nanti Kita Pergi Hari Ini' author appreciates the writer's “endurance” to tell stories with almost the same energy throughout the storyline. The jury also submitted a number of inputs on this work.

This novel shows the paradoxes, ambivalence, and contradictions that exist in the world of appreciation of the Indonesian people. The author of the novel Kereta Semar Lembu, Zaky Yamani, said that the input from the judges would be a note of improvement for him. On the other hand, he admitted that he did not expect to be crowned the champion.

The novel written by Zaky managed to outperform 324 other novel scripts. The second best novel is entitled 'Berat' by Amalia Yunus. Meanwhile, the third-best novel is titled 'Lantak La (Dramaturgi Anonim-Anonim)' by Beri Hanna alias Syawal Pebrian.

The jury also selected six novel titles that attracted the attention of the jury and were potential to be published. The six titles are 'Mustika Zakar Celeng' by Adia Puja Pradana, 'Lauk Daun' (Hartari), 'Gagarasuk dan Dunia Roh Seni'(Bernardin Andara), 'Nona Jepun' (Sinta Yudisia), 'Racun Puan' (Ni Nyoman Ayu Suciartini), and 'apai dan Jazz' (Mellyan).

The first to third winners will each receive a prize of Rp 30 million, Rp 20 million, and Rp 15 million. Meanwhile, the six selected scriptwriters each received a prize of Rp 2 million. The judging criteria include optimizing language, working on themes, exploring forms, and authenticating stories. Besides Ziggy, who has also won this competition several times, the jury consists of Manneke Budiman and Bagus Takwin.

Courtesy of Jakarta Arts Council


Absurd times, absurd literary

The chairman of the DKJ Danton Sihombing explained that this competition was first held in 1974. The competition, which used to be called the DKJ Romance Writing Competition, has produced a number of literary works and influential writers in the Indonesian literary world, such as Budi Darma with the novel Olenka and Ayu Utami with the novel Saman.

The manuscripts received by the committee not only show the richness of writing ideas but also show the technical abilities of the writers. Their works also generally reflect ideas, anxiety, the spirit of the times, to rebellion in every time and place.

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still in absurd times. The manuscripts of the winners of the competition may be able to tell us about this era and tell us about our common sense,” said Danton.


#THE S MEDIA #Media Milenial