2. Writer festival will be held

The Ubud writers and readers festival inspired by the 2002 bombings will start as scheduled this Thursday amid stepped-up security including bomb-sniffing dogs and undercover police following last weekend's attacks.

Janet de Neefe, the master mind of the event, said only three of the 100 authors have canceled because of Saturday's bombing in Bali that killed 22 people and injured over 100.

"We're still going ahead, of course. We never wanted to stop the festival," said de Neefe, the 46-year-old Australian who wrote "Fragrant Rice," a book not only about Balinese cuisine.

"Certainly, I don't understand what motivates people to do such atrocious things," she said. "It makes me more convinced to do this. I refuse to allow these people to rule our lives."

Scheduled to be opened by Indonesian State Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik at the beautiful Puri Ubud Palace on Friday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m., the festival comprises workshops, discussions, art performances and other activities across the village. The conference and opening is also due to be attended by East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao and his wife Kirsty Sword Gusmao, an Australian born teacher-turned-first lady of the world's newest nation. She will be speaking on 'A Woman of Independence and life in Timor Leste' on Oct. 8 at the Indus Restaurant.

Other highlights include the Balinese Poets Night on Oct. 8 will feature 12 of the best Balinese poets, including the deeply spiritual Raka Kusuma and Arthawa of Karangasem, the mild-tempered Parwita and Suartha of Klungkung, the mystical Suanta of Gianyar, Ngurah Parsua, and the charismatic Samar Gantang, well known for his black magic poems, of Tabanan as well as three promising young Balinese writers, Sonia Piscayanti, Maliana and Pranita Dewi speaking about their life and works on Oct. 10. The festival will also feature noted poet Taufiq Ismai, leading essayist Goenawan Mohamad and other distinguished writers from near and far.

International guests include Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje and noted Indian author Amitav Ghosh, who will be present to discuss their lives and works, while scholar Elizabeth D. Inandiak and Roger Tol will speak on their quest to rekindle knowledge of the country's literary heritage.

* The whole festival program 2005
* Articles about last years Festival
* More Ubud news from Festival Directress Janet de Neefe