For its 16th year as Southeast Asia’s leading literary event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has today announced its full lineup of over 180 authors, journalists, artists and activists from 30 countries. From 23–27 October, they’ll appear in more than 170 events across 70+ venues in Ubud, which this year placed sixth on Travel + Leisure’s Top 15 Cities in the World.
From Indonesia to Italy, Colombia to Cameroon, Thailand to Turkey, Portugal to Pakistan and dozens of countries in between, the five-day program of in-conversations, panel discussions, literary lunches, music and arts performances, writing workshops and more will demonstrate why The Telegraph named UWRF one of the world’s five best literary festivals for 2019.
The first round of speakers announced last month featured celebrated British food writer Yotam Ottolenghi, bestselling American author Susan Orlean, human rights advocate Andreas Harsono, and Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, and award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani, who is currently incarcerated on Manus Island and will appear via live stream.
Among the names revealed today are legendary Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, feminist firebrand and New York Times contributing opinion writer Lindy West, BAFTA-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur Akala, journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Megan K. Stack, and award-winning writer, poet, and playwright Lemn Sissay.
They’ll be joined by internationally renowned Iranian-American writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan, Canada’s bestselling memoirist Lindsay Wong, Pakistani journalist and author Sanam Maher, Turkish author and translator Nazli Karabiyikoglu, and Man Booker Prize nominated author and documentary filmmaker Guy Gunaratne.
As Indonesia’s premier platform for showcasing its writers and artists to the world, the Festival is thrilled to welcome award-winning author and journalist Laksmi Pamuntjak, one of the nation’s foremost film directors Garin Nugroho, author and film director Richard Oh, veteran journalists Leila S. Chudori and Maria Hartiningsih, and author, artist and gender activist Eliza Vitri Handayani.
Celebrating emerging Indonesian talent is a core part of UWRF. In addition to the five winners of this year’s Emerging Writers competition, the Festival will welcome novelist and poet Faisal Oddang, author and visual artist Lala Bohang, and fashion designer Didiet Maulana.
As ever, the Festival will shine a spotlight on the region’s most stimulating voices and committed journalists, which this year includes Thailand’s Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Filipina poet Eunice Andrada, Singaporean global strategist Parag Khanna, Chinese author and journalist Karoline Kan, Bangkok-based author and journalist Patrick Winn, Jakarta-based journalist and analyst Erin Cook, and Singapore-based author and journalist Michael Vatikiotis.
Due to its proximity Australian authors always form a strong contingent of Festival speakers, which this year includes Lonely Planet Founder Tony Wheeler, author and appearance activist Carly Findlay, award-winning author Toni Jordan, and award-winning writer, editor and critic Fiona Wright.
“There’s something in the air right now – a crackling hunger for diverse voices from lesser-known regions, for works in translation by people of color, for stories that open our eyes to worlds completely unlike our own.”
“Our milestone 15th year last year was very special,” commented UWRF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “It will be hard to beat. But there’s something in the air right now – a crackling hunger for diverse voices from lesser-known regions, for works in translation by people of color, for stories that open our eyes to worlds completely unlike our own.
“For 16 years UWRF has prided itself on sharing these stories, and now we feel like the global literary community is finally catching up. I think the fact that a relatively small and intimate event in Indonesia, which is delivered by a not-for-profit foundation, is now listed among the world’s best literary festivals is nothing short of extraordinary,” DeNeefe continued.
“If you’re a lover of a good story, brave ideas and unique insights into this incredible part of the world, come and share our 16th year with us, and experience the magic we’re now famous for.”