Cue Mandolins: De Bernières Takes the Stage at Ubud Festival

This year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will see British author Louis de Bernières after all — a possible sign that the festival’s new three-year naming rights sponsorship deal with Citibank is already paying a first-class dividend.

Festival co-director Sarah Tooth did not respond to a request for comment on De Bernières’ appearance.

But the festival let it be known earlier this year that De Bernières was a starter, although he did not appear on the writers’ invitation list later released. An updated list posted on the festival website included his name.

De Bernières is best known for his 1994 novel Corelli’s Mandolin (also published as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, as which it was also made into a popular movie) but while this won him the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize it is far from his most intellectual work.

He published his first novel in 1990 — when he was 36 — and was selected by the British literary magazine Granta as one of its 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1993.

His sixth novel, Birds Without Wings, was published in 2004 and A Partisan’s Daughter, arguably his most challenging work, in 2008. His latest work is Notwithstanding: Stories from an English Village, published last year.

As well as writing, he plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar, and performs in public regularly.

De Bernières will be joined at the festival by renowned British expert on Buddhism Richard Gombrich, who retired as Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University in 2004 and who is founder president of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies.

More than 100 writers from 22 countries are listed as attending this year’s festival.

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has been invited to speak at the festival, in the In Conversation series. The festival says on its website that they expect to confirm his attendance early this month.

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