In­done­sia’s shin­ing lit star

Meet the win­ner of the first World Read­ers Award.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - By YULIASRI PERDANI

THIR­TEEN years af­ter break­ing into In­done­sia’s lit­er­ary fir­ma­ment with his d ebut Ba­hasa In­done­sia novel, Can­tik Itu Luka ( Beauty Is A Wound), au­thor Eka Kur­ni­awan makes his way onto the world ’ s stage: The English lan­guage ver­sion of the book re­ceived the in­au­gu­ral World Read ers Award on Tuesd ay and his sec ond novel, Le­laki Hari­mau ( M an Tiger) ger) was short-listed for the 2016 Man Book I In­ter­na­tional Prize a c ou­ple of weeks ear­lier.

The World Read ers Aw ward , or­gan­ised by the Hong Kong and Aust tralia- based Asia Pac ific Writ­ers and Trans­la­tors as­so­ci­a­tion, was given out in Hong K Kong. Ac­cord­ing to the award’s web­site, world read er­, Eka, who c ould nott at­tend the cer­e­mony, said is a de­liv­ered sta ate­ment that he was “happy, hum­bled and hon­oured ”.

The web­site notes the judges’ also paid trib­ute to his trans­la­tor, An­nie Tucker. In a state­ment pub­lished by Pen Amer­ica, Tucker de­scribes Beauty Is A Wo Wound as “a dis­tinc­tive West Ja­vanese voice that will feel fresh and new to read­ers, evok­ingg mul­ti­ple lo­cal in­flu­ences inc lud ing the baw wd y wit and epic scope of wayang theatre e, the folk tales for whic h the re­gion is famo ous, and In­done­sian hor­ror and mar­tial arts genre fic­tion.” ( Beauty Is A Wound is re­viewed on page 14.)

O pen­ing the novel is ana as­tound ing sc ene about a pros­ti­tute named Dewi Ayu, w who rises from her grave af­ter bei ing d ead for two d ec ad es to pay a visit to her fourth – ugly – d aug ghter named Can­tik ( Beau­ti­ful l). The novel c en­tres on a famil ly saga that moves alongsid e the e c oun­try’s his­tory – from Dutch rule and the Ja­pan nese oc­cu­pa­tion to the 1965 m mass killings.

Many in In­done­sia’s lit­er­ary scene have spot­ted t the in­flu­ence of Sal­man Rushd ie, Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez, Mark Twain and , most sig­nific antly, In­done­sian au­thor Pramoedya Ananta Toer in Eka’s de­but work.

“Some c om­pare me to Pram [ Pramoedya] and Gar­cía Márquez. Some have also men­tioned [ Niko­lai] Go­gol and Her­man Melville. To be hon­est, I have been in­flu­enced by all of them. I have read their works sinc e I was in c ol­lege,” he says in an in­ter­view.

Renowned In­done­sian scholar Bene­dict AndAn er­son praised­praise Eka in an in­flu­en­tial ar­ti­cle, say­ing that, “It is nic e that af­ter half a cen­tury, Pramoedya Ananta Toer has found a suc c es­sor.”

Hav­ing ex­ten­sively read Pramoed ya’s works, Eka, in a crit­i­cal view, be­lieves that

Lit star: Eka strug­gled to get his de­but novel pub­lished but since then, it has taken off like a me­teor. — hand­out

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