All Set for a Voluble Five Days

UBUD ~ Six weeks out from this year’s premier literary event in Bali, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, the organisers say they have well over 100 writers from 23 countries listed to attend – the figure was 105 on August 24, according the UWRF manager Sarah Tooth – and a programme they say is gathering momentum.

The theme of this year’s festival is Suka Duka (Compassion and Solidarity), reflecting “the great themes of our time”: religion, identity, the legacy of colonial brutality and the postcolonial voice, human rights, race and identity, exile, gender, censorship, literary expression, families and love.

Headline writer this year is Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyoinka, the first African to receive a Nobel Prize for literature. He will discuss his lifetime of work and activism.

He will be joined by a group of African writers, from Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt.

Also on the programme are Fatima Bhutto, the outspoken poet, journalist and novelist from Pakistan; the female poets of Not A Muse; Lloyd Jones to share the heart-wrenching empathy in the Bougainville-set fable, Mr Pip; and the unpredictable and eccentric Dany Laferriere.

Festival-goers will also have the chance to examine Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes.

Regional em-phasis is high-lighted in what organisers are billing as a special tribute to the Southeast Asian experience. Writers include Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Ng Yi Sheng, Amir Muhammad, NH Dini, Thant Myint-U, Shamini Flint, Wena Poon, Woon Tai Ho, Lee Su Kim and Dede Oetomo.

Australia is also strongly represented.

The festival, staged with the assistance of the Australia-Indonesia Institute, runs from October 7-11.

Tickets and further details are available online at

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