By Rosie Clynes
With UWRF17 less than two weeks away, it’s time to get your pen and program book out to start circling and starring. Limited on time? If you’re keen for some literary delights but are just dropping in for the day, the 1-Day Festival Pass is a no-brainer – granting you an all-access pass to the entire Main Program for your chosen day. Not sure where to start? We’ve made it easy for you. Here are our highlights of each Festival day, designed to help you choose your very own 24-Hour Festival adventure.
Championing social justice and artistic excellence, our first day at UWRF celebrates some of the Festival’s most anticipated wonder women. Kick-start your Festival experience at NEKA Museum with our Festival Welcome at 9:00 with UWRF Founder & Director Janet DeNeefe. Afterwards, stay where you are as the living literary legend Nh Dini takes the NEKA Stage. This is your chance to hear the insights of one of Indonesia’s first and most revered feminist writers.
From there, Marina Mahathir takes the NEKA Stage at 11:45 in what is set to be a compelling conversation about social advocacy. Writer, activist and former UN Person of the Year, she will reflect on a lifetime of activism for the rights of women and minorities in her home of Malaysia.
At 14:30, prepare yourself for China’s Women, a rare opportunity to hear from former rocket factor worker turned writer Lijia Zhang, and Festival headliner Jung Chang, two lauded authors who have dedicated their life’s work to fearlessly telling the stories of women of their homeland.
Wrapping up on a day of discovery and insight, join three spirited storytellers and powerhouse women in Put Your Whole Self In at 15:45 for an open-air discussion on what it means to pair poetry and prose with performance.
We devote our look at Day 2 to those interested in all things literature, whether that be the budding writer here for their first year, or the seasoned book lover returning for their annual Festival pilgrimage.
Start the day at Taman Baca with Poetic Calling, where Indonesian writers muse on why poetry calls to them. More into longform? Then don’t miss esteemed author Madeleine Thien’s session at NEKA Museum, as she discusses her Man Booker Prize shortlisted Do Not Say We Have Nothing.
10:15 takes us to A Critical Eye, where cultural essayists reflect on what it means to critique and to criticize, and how this effects one’s own work.
After this head over to Indus, where at 11:45 the Dazzling Debuts panelists will dish on the fine art of wowing audiences with a first work. For those with a pasión for the literature of Latin America, leading Colombian author Héctor Abad will discuss his acclaimed works at NEKA Museum. For old fans and new, be sure to catch him in Latin Lit the day before (cocktail in hand, of course) for a Special Event with a host of other leading Latin-American writers.
Past, Present and Future is up next – a compelling foray into what it means to weave real events into one’s fiction with a lineup of celebrated authors. For those fascinated by the art of translation, head over to In Other Words at Taman Baca, where a group of writers and translators will reflect on the complexities of this perennial favorite Festival topic.
After a quick coffee break, it’s that time in the afternoon for a literary legend or two: Scottish crime fiction kingpin Ian Rankin takes the NEKA stage at 14:30. For a more intimate affair, catch him on Day 3 at Dinner, Wine and Crime. For the Festival’s poetry lovers, don’t miss Sutardji Calzoum Bachri, the man once proclaimed the ‘President of Indonesian Poetry’. Up for something new? Head over to Eastern Winds of Change to discover why East Indonesia is generating some of the nation’s most thrilling new literary talent.
As our second day draws to a close, rest your weary feet, or talk about them: The Walking Cure sees a discussion with three peripatetic writers on the creative power of a good wander. Or, wrap up your Main Program sessions over at Taman Baca with three formidable Iranian writers who will speak on what it means to write from one’s heritage and heart.
Day 3 is for those drawn to all things innovation and activism. Get your Saturday off to a bracing start with a coffee and conversation about climate change: Tim Flannery will share his research and unwavering optimism toward facing the uphill battle. Or, if you’re more interested in a pioneer of poetry, head over to meet the ‘punk poet’ Simon Armitage.
At 10:15 at Taman Baca, Half a Century of ASEAN is an incisive look at 50 years of the alliance. Or, if you’re forever indulging your wanderlust and are keen to rub shoulders with fellow nomads, make your way over to NEKA where a coterie of intrepid wordsmiths share the stark and often uncomfortable realities of travel writing.
Those still itching for travel tales shouldn’t miss eminent historian and master storyteller Simon Winchester’s adventures. Don’t miss the launch of Mission to China either, one of our many free Book Launches and a fascinating take on the narrative history genre. More fond of pop culture? Make your way over to Nusrat Durrani: Love in a Time of Hate, which sees the former Head of MTV World discuss global media as a tool to create an international platform for unheard voices.
After a looking out past the horizons, it’s time to get back to local innovation. At 13:00 at Indus, catch the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators crew fresh from their tenth annual conference here in North Bali. Otherwise, meet four young Balinese creatives reflecting on what it means to live and create in contemporary Bali.
Our 14:30 session at NEKA takes you to Andreas Harsono, renowned journalist and reporter for Human Rights Watch Indonesia. Or, if you’re more into poetry than matters of the press, venture over to Indus where three writers share what it means to pen women’s experiences through poetry.
Finish off your day of innovation and insight with Moving Images, zooming in on the world of filmmakers who prefer to point their lens at social issues. Or, if you’re a fan of graphic novels, don’t miss Captivating Comics – your chance to hear from three leaders of the genre.
Finally, if you find yourself more invigorated than exhausted by a day of innovative discourse, head on down to Indus in the evening for a drink and some stirring insights from People of Letters. A unique evening celebrating the lost art of letter writing, it will be celebrated by a hand-picked selection of Festival guests who will each share ‘A Letter to the Thing I Wish I’d Written’.
For those excited by the rising stars of Indonesian art, our final day at the Festival is a celebration of all things contemporary from Bali and across the archipelago.
A dose of hearty humor with your coffee is the perfect kick to start a Sunday morning: Laughter is the Best Medicine will see funny man Ben Sohib discuss how humor can be used to combat intolerance and political turmoil. Heads up – he also appears later on with the fearless and formidable Sakdiyah Ma’ruf (one Indonesia’s first female Muslim standup comedians) in Funny Bones, a head-on collision of some of the Festival’s funniest social justice advocates.
Afterwards, chuckle your way over to Taman Baca at 10:15, where some of Indonesia’s most tireless innovators in a range of fields converge, along with renowned Malaysian writer and Festival Director Bernice Chauly, to share what it means to start from scratch and find success with passion and perseverance.
11:45 takes us to a chat with some of Bali’s most innovative youth, using their passions to Preserve and Promote the state of their complex cultural heritage. Feel more like a foray into film? Join Pierre Coffin, French-Indonesian animated film director and the voice behind the iconic yellow Minions who have stolen hearts the world over.
Next head to Breaking Boundaries, an exceptional opportunity to hear from some of Bali’s wonder women, who not only manage to be present in a never-ending stream of cultural obligations but excel in their creative fields as well.
14:30 takes us to My Island (Second) Home, where a diverse group of foreigners who’ve each lived on the island for years reflect on how they’ve found home, family and community within another culture.
Finish your Main Program day with a monumental celebration of 30 years of Indonesian publishing with the Lontar Foundation at 16:00. It’s a mini-Indonesian literature festival at Indus featuring readings and performances from some of the 15 Lontar authors at the Festival.
What next? The Closing Night Party, of course! If your one day at the Festival is our final one, don’t miss this free celebration at Blanco Renaissance Museum. Dance up a storm under the stars with Festival friends old and new to exhilarating performances from top Indonesian acts. We’ll see you on the dancefloor!
To buy your 1-Day Pass click the button below, and head here for the full list of Main Program sessions.