Celebrating 20 Years of Indonesian Literary Excellence in Bali


The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has unveiled the initial lineup of speakers for its much-anticipated 20th-anniversary edition, scheduled to run from October 18th to 22nd, 2023. The festival, marking two decades of literary celebration, has chosen the theme 'Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: Masa Lalu, Saat Ini, dan Masa Depan' (Past, Present, and Future) to highlight the significance of the occasion.

In a thrilling revelation, UWRF has introduced a diverse array of international and Indonesian literary luminaries set to grace the event. The international contingent boasts prominent names such as Vandana Shiva, the ardent environmental advocate; Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist; Bernardine Evaristo, the Booker Prize-winning author of 'Girl, Woman, Other'; Geetanjali Shree, the 2022 International Booker Prize laureate; Shehan Karunatilaka, the 2022 Booker Prize winner; Behrouz Boochani, a journalist, human rights champion, writer, and filmmaker; and the Australian political journalists known for their unexpected wit, Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb.

The Indonesian literary sphere will be represented by eminent figures including Putu Wijaya, a seasoned Balinese author and playwright; the emerging literary talent and visual artist Lala Bohang; the venerable poet, essayist, journalist, and creator of this year's festival artwork, Goenawan Mohamad; Leila S. Chudori, recipient of the SEA Literary Awards in 2020; the multi-talented Dewi Lestari, renowned as an author and singer-songwriter; the esteemed artist and cultural icon Sujiwo Tedjo; Agus Nur Amal (PM Toh), a storyteller from Aceh; and the accomplished feminist author and scholar, Intan Paramaditha.

The excitement continues as UWRF announces its inaugural writing retreat, slated to take place from October 15th to 22nd, offering attendees an immersive three-day writing journey amidst the lush surroundings of the 5-star Plataran Resort & Spa. Renowned novelists Louise Doughty, Jill Dawson, Kathryn Heyman, and Kate Pullinger will guide participants through this unique experience. Following the retreat, attendees will savor four days of festival magic, including the exclusive opening Gala and a dinner hosted by festival founder and director, Janet DeNeefe, at Casa Luna.

Hannah Curtis, the newly appointed Head of International Programming, brings a wealth of experience from renowned Australian cultural institutions, including The Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Melbourne Art Book Fair. Artistic Director Janet DeNeefe expressed her confidence in Curtis, stating, "Hannah's passion for fostering public discourse will craft an exciting and inspiring program, ideal for our 20th anniversary." DeNeefe further noted, "This year holds special significance as our 20th Anniversary, and our 2023 program will be nothing short of exceptional."

Hannah Curtis also shared her thoughts on her new role, saying, "Saya sangat antusias untuk bergabung dengan Ubud Writers Festival sebagai Kepala International Programming. Ubud Writers Festival adalah salah satu acara sastra terkenal di dunia dan memberikan ruang penting bagi komunitas dan diskusi kritis tentang masalah-masalah yang paling berarti bagi kita. Tema festival 'Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: Masa Lalu, Saat Ini, dan Masa Depan' akan menjelajahi kekuatan bercerita dan gagasan yang merangkul dan memahami bahwa masa depan ada di tangan masa kini, yang kita lihat dengan mata terbuka dan rasa sukacita serta harapan."

As the countdown to October begins, book enthusiasts and literary connoisseurs around the world eagerly await the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2023. Early Bird ticket sales for this landmark event will commence on July 12th, enabling attendees to secure their spot at one of the world's premier literary gatherings.

For more information and updates about UWRF 2023, visit the official website at

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