Time to make con­nec­tions

This year’s fes­ti­val will con­tem­plate what con­nects di­verse hu­man­ity – a timely theme in these tu­mul­tuous times.

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THE Ubud Writ­ers and Read­ers Fes­ti­val (UWRF) re­turns this year, run­ning from Oct 25 to Oct 29 at the In­done­sian town that has be­come syn­ony­mous with books and art.

Now in its 14th year, it has grown in leaps and bounds since it was first con­ceived by res­i­dent Janet DeNeefe in 2004 as a “heal­ing project” in re­sponse to the Bali bomb­ing two years prior. To­day, it is widely re­garded as one of the an­nual cul­tur­ally di­verse lit­er­ary events to look for­ward to.

With more than 150 speak­ers from 30 coun­tries on board this year, the fes­ti­val aims to pro­vide a plat­form for sto­ry­telling, idea ex­change and in­spi­ra­tion.

“We know there are hun­dreds of lit­er­ary events across the world, but what we hear most about our fes­ti­val is that it is truly mag­i­cal,” says DeNeefe in a press re­lease.

This year’s theme, “Sangkan Paran­ing Du­madi”, or Ori­gins, chal­lenges par­tic­i­pants to take a step back and look at the big pic­ture: How are we linked to each other as a col­lec­tive hu­man­ity, what are the ori­gins of the el­e­ments that shape us, what do we carry with us through life, and what are the things that draw us back time and again?

One of the main ob­jec­tives of this theme is to en­cour­age par­tic­i­pants and vis­i­tors to con­tem­plate con­nec­tions with each other and ev­ery­thing around us – surely a wor­thy goal dur­ing this time of global un­rest and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil.

“What started as a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive has grown into a global hub of ideas, ex­pe­ri­ences and em­pow­er­ment. It is the per­fect place for mean­ing­ful cross-cul­tural ex­change at a time when we need it most,” DeNeefe says.

The fes­ti­val is one of the an­nual projects of not-for-profit foun­da­tion Yayasan Mu­dra Swari Saraswati.

Among the au­thors who will be at the fes­ti­val this year is Scot­tish crime writer Ian Rankin, who is best known for his In­spec­tor Re­bus nov­els that have won crit­i­cal praise for their elab­o­rate plots, and Cana­dian short story writer and nov­el­ist Madeleine Thien whose works set in the di­as­poric his­to­ries of Asian com­mu­ni­ties have won her mul­ti­ple awards.

Malaysia’s well-known so­cio-po­lit­i­cal au­thor and ac­tivist Ma­rina Ma­hathir will also be present at Ubud, to share her thoughts on break­ing free from the shack­les of the so­ci­etal norms you are born into.

Fes­ti­val vis­i­tors will also be able to get up close and per­sonal with In­dia-born Aus­tralian Sa­roo Bri­er­ley, the man be­hind the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal work A Long Way Home that was sub­se­quently adapted into the 2016 film, Lion, star­ring Dev Pa­tel. Bri­er­ley was adopted by an Aus­tralian cou­ple as a child and only re­united with his bi­o­log­i­cal mother 25 years later. His story gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion, par­tic­u­larly in In­dia and Aus­tralia.

Other no­table speak­ers in­clude cli­ma­tol­o­gist and con­ser­va­tion­ist Tim Flan­nery, who will lead a dis­cus­sion on our en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions; MTV World founder Nus­rat Dur­rani; jour­nal­ist/nov­el­ist Robert Des­saix; mem­oirist Kate Holden; film­maker Erik Est; and nov­el­ist/ so­cial en­trepreneur Ah­mad Fuadi.

With an equally strong fo­cus on the In­done­sian lit­er­ary and artis­tic land­scape, the fes­ti­val will also show­case the na­tion’s emerg­ing and es­tab­lished writ­ers and artists, such as jour­nal­ist Leila S. Chu­dori and so­cial com­men­ta­tor Seno Gu­mira Aji­darma.

Lin

– Rouwen

For more in­for­ma­tion and en­trance fee rates, go to ubud­writ­ers­fes­ti­val. com. Ingo spend map­ping out the old tun­nels un­der New Man­hat­tan deep­ens their re­la­tion­ship.

Fans will be tempted to plow through this book in one sit­ting, de­spite its mam­moth 651 pages – an easy task if you con­sider the fast-paced writ­ing alone.

The only thing I found slightly an­noy­ing is Weatherly’s propen­sity for leav­ing cliffhang­ers that are only re­solved sev­eral chap­ters later.

I al­ready found this tech­nique rather overused in Dark­ness Fol­lows, and it makes the story a bit hard to fol­low at times be­cause Weatherly also jumps back and forth in time when she does it, which can be rather con­fus­ing.

Oth­er­wise, Black Moon is an ex­cel­lent end­ing to the tril­ogy,

I like how Weatherly re­flects what ac­tu­ally hap­pened his­tor­i­cally dur­ing World War II in this story – which is also set in the 1940s of the dystopia’s re­set time­line – but in a fresh way.

For those young fans who re­ally like the story, you might want to read up a bit on the real-life war.

Or ask your grand­par­ents or other rel­a­tives who lived through the Ja­panese oc­cu­pa­tion in Malaya how sim­i­lar the story is to what re­ally hap­pened.

A packed In­done­sian short film show­case at a pre­vi­ous edi­tion of the Ubud Writ­ers and Read­ers Fes­ti­val. — WIRASATHYA DARMAJA

.

The au­di­ence is al­ways ea­ger to in­ter­act, as at this panel dis­cus­sion at a pre­vi­ous fes­ti­val. — ANGGARA MA­HEN­DRA

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