Dive deeper into the story of the 2020 South East Asia Write Award-winning literature, 'Laut Bercerita' by Leila S. Chudori.


Leila S. Chudori won the South East Asian Write Award with her novel, “Laut Bercerita.” This novel was released in 2017 by publisher Kepustakaan Popular Gramedia. Later on, “Laut Bercerita” was translated in English by John McGlynn from Penguin Random House with the title, “The Sea Speaks His Name.”

Not only that, “Laut Bercerita” is adapted into a short 30 minutes movie directed by Pritagita Arianegara in 2018. The cast included some well-known Indonesian stars like Reza Rahadian, Ayushita Nugraha, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Tio Pakusadewo, and others. 

Despite being released in 2017, the book is still one of the top-selling Indonesian novels in Gramedia and has been reprinted more than once.

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A gut-wrenching story of loss
Laut Bercerita tells a story of friendship, love, family and also loss. It tells about a group of people who loves to torture and betray others, a group of families that wants to know about their children, and also about unwavering love. 

The story revolves around the student activists during the New Order era around the 90s and 2000s. The story also reflects on the disappearance of 13 activists that up until this day is still missing. 

The book is divided into two parts that take place in 1998 and 2000 respectively. The first part is told from the point of view of Biru Laut, a student activist, and his fellow activists while completing their vision and missions. 

The second part tells a story through the eyes of Asmara Jati, Laut’s younger sister, who has her goals and visions different from Laut's. It takes place exactly two years after Laut's story as she and her friends build a special agency specifically for handling cases of people who went missing.

This 394 paged novel will remind the readers of the 1998 reformation era which was filled with bitterness and cruelty for activists. Through Leila’s narration, the readers will immerse themselves in the feeling of emptiness and the frustrations of each main character. 

More on Leila S. Chudori
Leila’s name is no stranger in the literary world of Indonesia. Born December 12, 1962, she started as a reporter and a writer.

She started publishing her works through magazines when she was 11 years old. Her first short story, “Pesan Sebatang Pohon Pisang” was written in children’s magazine “Si Kuncung” in 1973. 

She released a few more short stories during her time in college for the newspapers' literature sections, such as the ones in Horison, Kompas Minggu, Sinar Harapan, and also Zaman and Matra magazine. 

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