INDONESIA FOCUS: Indonesia literature seminars at The London Book Fair 2019 | 12-14 March 2019

Are you attending London Book Fair? Join us and our delegation of fantastic Indonesian writers in conversation at Olympia

All the following events take place at Olympia Conference Centre, London. Book your ticket for The London Book Fair!


Tuesday 12 March


Translating Indonesia
Jérôme Bouchaud (Editions Jentayu), Chanwoo Park (LTI Korea) and Judith Uyterlinde (World Editions); chaired by Susan Harris (Words Without Borders)
10.00-11.00, Literary Translation Centre, Olympia

A common Indonesian saying is 'lain lubuk, lain ikannya', which might freely be translated as 'other countries, other customs'. Indonesian literature has been slow to find its place on the world stage - both by means of active promotion, but also because non-European languages tend to struggle to find translation in the West. Using Indonesian literature as a case study, this panel of experts will explore the challenges to introducing Indonesian literature, and other non-Western literatures, to the Western world.


Dee Lestari in conversation with Matthew Janney
12.30-13.00, English PEN Literary Salon, Olympia

After a successful career as a singer-songwriter, Dee Lestari turned her hand to fiction and is now one of Indonesia's best-selling authors. Since 2000 her six-book Supernova series has taken Indonesia by storm. She has also written young-adult fiction and short stories and several of her books have been made into films. She is appearing in conversation with Culture Trip's Books Editor, Matthew Janney.


The Many Identities of Indonesia
Agustinus Wibowo, Faisal Oddang and Will Harris; chaired by Elizabeth Pisani
13.00-14.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Indonesia is a nation of thousands of islands and hundreds of ethnic groups - so is it possible to say that there is one Indonesian identity, or many competing identities, each affected by geography, generation, religion, gender, and individual experience? Writers Agustinus Wibowo and Faisal Oddang consider the changing identities of modern Indonesia, and how their own personal histories have affected their sense of self. Agustinus Wibowo is a travel writer whose work has taken him to China, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Papua New Guinea, and Suriname. His latest book, Us and Them, explores human identity and national conflict. Faisal Oddang is an award-winning writer who has recently been awarded residencies in Germany, the US, and the Netherlands. They will appear Anglo-Indonesian poet and critic, Will Harris.


Morality in Children’s Fiction
Clara Ng, Reda Gaudiamo and tbc; chaired by Judith Robinson
14.30-15.30, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Do children’s writers feel obliged to write a moral into their books? If adults can read books without a lesson at the heart of them, why shouldn’t children? What other morals do we learn from the books that we read, even if they are not presented to us as a lesson to be learned? Clara Ng is a writer of books for adults and children, whose work has been criticised by educators for focusing on children’s feeling and not including a moral message. Reda Gaudiamo also writes for both children and adults, and whose work subtly explores the foundations of identity and culture.


Memory: Facts and Fictions
Leila S. Chudori, Seno Gumira Ajidarma and Louise Doughty; chaired by Dr Michael Vatikiotis
16.00-17.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Indonesia's complex and often violent and repressive political history has provided the inspiration for many works of fiction by both Indonesian and foreign authors. Seno Gumira Ajidarma published two books about Indonesia's troubled past in East Timor; Leila S. Chudori's first and second novels deal with the Indonesian exile experience and the abduction of political activists respectively; and Louise Doughty has written a fictional account of the horrors of 1965. In this panel, these three esteemed authors consider the question of whether fiction writers have a duty to a country's history, and its relationship to the nation's collective memory.


Indonesia Translation Slam
Mikael Johani and Laura Noszlopy; chaired by Olivia McCannon
16.00-17.00, Literary Translation Centre, Olympia


Indonesian-to-English translators Mikael Johani and Laura Noszlopy will test their linguistic mettle in a light-hearted duel of words. The slam will showcase the art of translation by juxtaposing competing translations of the same piece of writing. The translators will discuss their thought processes, translation choices and share with the audiences the particular challenges translating Indonesian into English brings.


Wednesday 13 March


Feminist Fairy Tales
Clara Ng, Intan Paramaditha and Kirsty Logan; chaired by tbc
10.00-11.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

As children, stories are told to us – about others, about ourselves, the people we might turn out to be and the opportunities that are open to us. But what happens when the stories don't fit? How does fiction hold up a mirror to the darker part of ourselves and our societies, and can it offer us another route out, into alternative ways to dream and resist? Intan Paramaditha is the author of Apple and Knife, a collection of feminist horror stories including subversive rewritings of well-known fairy tales and Indonesian myths. Clara Ng is known for her adult and children's fiction, including a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. They will appear alongside Kirsty Logan whose writing also explores fairy tales, feminism and horror.


Traditional Stories in Contemporary Literature
Faisal Oddang, Nirwan Dewanto and Lucy Wood; chaired by Ros Green
11.30-12.30, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

How do traditional stories - myths, origin tales, and the religious canon - as well as the cultural and artistic traditions of Indonesia influence today's writers? What is reimagined, what is newly explored, and what are the clichés, misconceptions and assumptions that they hope to end through their work? Nirwan Dewanto is an award-winning poet and cultural critic whose book, The Museum of Pure Desire, contains prose-poems that look back at the Indonesian versions of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Faisal Oddang is an award-winning novelist and short story writer who has re-told a section of I La Galigo, an origin tale from South Sulawesi. They will appear with UK author Lucy Wood whose short story collection, Diving Belles, is based on Cornish folklore.


Leila S. Chudori in conversation with Ellah Wakatama Allfrey
13.00-13.30, English PEN Literary Salon, Olympia

Leila S. Chudori writes across many genres including fiction, short stories and screenplays, as well as being a prominent film-citric and journalist in Indonesia. She is considered one of Indonesia’s boldest story-tellers; her style is unconventional, and her themes include such taboo subjects as state absolutism, chauvinism and the hypocrisy of public mores. She is appearing in conversation with editor, critic and journalist, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.


Indonesian Graphic Novels
Hikmat Darmawan and Shelia Rooswitha Putri; chaired by Paul Gravett
13.00-13.45, Spice Island Café, Olympia

Indonesian readers delight in the visual—not surprisingly given the country’s large number of talented graphic artists. The stories being told in a visual or graphic format are both classic and contemporary, as appealing to today’s generation as they were to readers in decades past.


Author of the Day: Seno Gumira Ajidarma in conversation with Sian Cain
14.00-14.30, English PEN Literary Salon, Olympia

Market Focus 'Author of the Day', Seno Gumira Ajidarma, is a critically acclaimed author of non-fiction, short stories and essays. Though much of Seno’s work, both the factual and the fictional, focuses on everyday life and criticizes contemporary social, cultural and political conditions – he has a great sense of humour as well, and has published satirical essays, playful poetry, a cartoon novel, and historical fantasies. He is well known in Indonesia as a consistent advocate of free speech and freedom of publication. He will be appearing in conversation with Sian Cain, the Guardian’s books site editor.


Tilted Axis presents Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s Sergius Seeks Bacchus
Norman Erikson Pasaribu and Tiffany Tsao
14.00-14.45, Spice Island Café, Olympia

It's hard to be queer in Indonesia. A movement is currently underway to criminalise same-sex relationships. The context in which Norman Erikson Pasaribu's debut Sergius Seeks Bacchus was written is just one of many aspects which make this a groundbreaking work. Translated by Tiffany Tsao, Sergius Seeks Bacchus is an alternative gospel of bittersweet and often tragicomic good news. Join us for a reading and conversation with the poet and translator on gender, language, and poetry.


Intan Paramaditha in conversation with Sharlene Teo
15.00-15.30, English PEN Literary Salon, Olympia

Intan Paramaditha is an award-winning Indonesian fiction writer and academic whose works focus on the intersection between gender and sexuality, culture, and politics. Her short story collection Apple and Knife was published by Brow Books (Australia) and Harvill Secker (UK) in 2018 and takes subversive feminist horror to new levels. She is appearing in conversation with fellow award-winning novelist Sharlene Teo to discuss women, horror and non-conformity.


Laksmi Pamuntjak, Norman Erikson Pasaribu and Paul McVeigh; chaired by Phillip Kim
16.00-17.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Indonesian writing today is becoming more bold, more inventive, and more determined to say the unsayable. How, through literary experiments, style and themes, are Indonesia’s writers tackling taboos and redefining norms? Laksmi Pamuntjak, author of The Question of Red – which counters the official government history of 1965; Norman Erikson Pasaribu, whose poems shine light on queer Indonesian life in the midst of erasure and oppression today; alongside Paul McVeigh whose writing touches on the complex layers of political oppression, violence and sexuality; discuss their personal reasons for writing on their chosen subjects, and the need to explore, and unsettle, the dominant narratives.



Thursday 14 March


Crossing Boundaries
Dewi Lestari, Laksmi Pamuntjak and tbc; chaired by tbc
10.00-11.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Indonesia’s new wave of women writers has produced a number of bestselling books, with more prominent women writers in the country than ever before, who are unafraid to tackle previously-unexplored subject matter and to write across genres. Dee Lestari is a singer-songwriter, novelist and short story writer whose recent publication Rectoverso is a hybrid of music album and short story collection. Laksmi Pamuntjak has published collections of poetry, short stories, and novels, and is also known for her food writing. These two authors will discuss their successes, the challenges that different genres and disciplines bring, and what it is like to be a woman in an industry traditionally dominated by men.

Nirwan Dewanto in conversation with Boyd Tonkin

12.00-12.30, English PEN Literary Salon

Nirwan Dewanto, a poet, essayist, literary editor, and cultural critic is one of Indonesia's most distinguished contemporary literary figures. Coming to writing later in life, he is a trained geologist whose exploration of the earth's strata led him into the more spiritual exploration of the human psyche. He will be appearing in conversation with UK author, journalist and critic, Boyd Tonkin.


The City and the Sea
Agustinus Wibowo, Sheila Rooswitha Putri and tbc; chaired by Katherine Demopoulos
13.00-14.00, Cross Cultural Hub, Olympia

Indonesia has extremes of urban and rural identities - Jakarta is one of the worlds megacities, yet many islands and regions remain lightly populated. Is there a 'city' identity, different to the lives of people in other areas? Do the people in the countryside feel affected by rising sea levels and climate change? Sheila Rooswitha Putri - whose work focuses on life in the city of Jakarta, giving depth and complexity to the lives there and exploding clichés by creating sympathetic portraits of mongrel dogs and thieves - discusses this with Agustinus Wibowo, a travel writer whose work unpicks the narratives of identity behind the enmity of different ethnic groups.


The Emma Press presents Reda Gaudiamo’s The Adventures of Na Willa
Reda Gaudiamo and Kate Wakeling; chaired by Emma Wright
14.00-14.45, Spice Island Café, Olympia

We are delighted to introduce Indonesian author Reda Gaudiamo to UK audiences with the launch of The Adventures of Na Willa, a collection of stories for children, full of the curious adventures and musings of a multicultural girl growing up in Indonesia with a Javanese mother and a Chinese-Indonesian father.


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