Ubud writers festival a great success

After the success of the Ubud writers and readers festival, next year’s event is now in the planning stages and promises to be even better than the first. The opening ceremony to the inaugural festival, held in the elegant Ubud Palace, was a spectacular start to what must surely be described as the most impressive literary event Indonesia has seen to date.

The opening speech by Goenawan Mohamad and Dewi Anggraeni’s interview with Jendaral Made Pastika on the first day was addressed to a full house. Indonesia’s young women writers: Ayu Utami, Djenar Maesa Ayu, Dewi Lestari and Fira Basuki held a captive audience as they expressed their views of life, writing and modern Indonesia. Tony Wheeler, Ryan Ver Berkmoes and Bill Dalton added lots of humour to the day in their travel writing session. Bill Dalton also chaired a fascinating session on photo journalism with Rio Helmi. Rama Surya and John Stanmeyer.

Some of the highlights of the week included a literary lunch with Nury Vittachi and George Negus at the Maya, a poetry slam at Bebek Bengil, a cross-cultural performance by Sandra Thibodeaux and Mas Ruscitadewi at Puri Saraswati and a literary lunch with Annabel Jackson, P.K.Leung, Heinz Von Holzen and Janet de Neefe at Uma. The Purnati Centre for the Arts hosted an exceptional closing party that included a performance by Cok Sawitri and poetry readings by Mas Ruscitadewi and other Balinese.

Literary lunch with Nury Vittachi and George Negus

So much more to say, if you are interested please read my full article here: Janet de Neefe, Festival Directress