Program Category: Main Program

From intimate in-conversations between leading authors, artists, thinkers and performers, to fiery debates on some of the world’s most pressing issues, the Festival’s Main Program takes place from 26–29 October.

Spanning 72 sessions over four days, the program is held across three venues: Festival Hub @ Taman Baca, Indus Restaurant and NEKA Museum, which are all within walking distance of each other on Jl. Raya Sanggingan. A free shuttle service runs between each venue and Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud central every 30 minutes, from 8:00am to 6:00pm.


Main Program: Festival Welcome

26 Oct 2017 09:00 /

Join us as the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival begins with a traditional Balinese welcome dance, opening remarks from Festival Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe, and two keynote speeches. In …

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Main Program: Nh. Dini: A Living Literary Legend

A living legend of Indonesian literature, Nh. Dini will reveal the flame that sustained her prolific writing career spanning more than five decades. Listen in as she narrates her colorful …

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Main Program: An Archipelago of Art

26 Oct 2017 10:15 /

In an archipelago of 17,000 islands, artistic expression takes a breathtaking array of forms. Join us for a taste of some of the most exciting dance, literature and visual art …

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Main Program: Preserving Culture

26 Oct 2017 10:15 /

Modern political, economic and social factors pose significant threat to Indigenous and traditional cultures. But keeping in touch with tradition isn’t only the work of elders and anthropologists. These young …

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Main Program: Marina Mahathir: Telling It Straight

26 Oct 2017 11:45 /

A tireless advocate for the rights of women and minorities in her home of Malaysia, Marina Mahathir is admired (and occasionally admonished) for telling it straight. She joins Michael Vatikiotis, …

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Main Program: Tanah Airku

26 Oct 2017 11:45 /

Indonesia celebrates the 72nd anniversary of its independence this year, amid a rising tide of religious conservatism, volatile political showdowns, and continued persecution of minorities. A seasoned journalist, a shoe …

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Main Program: Nigel Barley: The Innocent Anthropologist

26 Oct 2017 11:45 /

Ranging across biography, autobiography, natural history, anthropology, and travelogue, celebrated writer and anthropologist Nigel Barley’s work spans genres as well as continents. A longtime lover of Indonesia – his book …

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Main Program: Banda Tales

26 Oct 2017 13:00 /

350 years ago when nutmeg was worth more than gold, the tiny island of Run played a dramatic role in Indonesia’s colonial history when it was ‘swapped’ by the British …

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Main Program: Incredible Journeys

26 Oct 2017 13:00 /

Traversing continents and spanning cultures, our panel has documented incredible journeys inside and out. Join them for an exploration of the compulsion, connections and celebrations that convince us the journey …

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Main Program: Going Home Again

26 Oct 2017 13:00 /

Is it true that ‘you can never go home again’? Whether moving across the country or around the world, making a geographical leap changes us and how we relate to …

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Main Program: China’s Women

With Wild Swans, Jung Chang illuminated the lives of three generations of women in China. Former rocket factory worker Lijia Zhang’s Lotus, inspired by her grandmother’s experiences, tells the story …

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Main Program: The Next Chapter of Indonesian Literature

26 Oct 2017 14:30 /

This year 711 aspiring authors from across the archipelago submitted 913 works to our flagship Emerging Writers Program. 15 were selected. Meet three of them to hear why they’ve chosen …

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Main Program: Robert Dessaix: The Pleasures of Leisure

26 Oct 2017 14:30 /

“Nowadays everyone’s got to appear to be doing something,” notes Robert Dessaix. We’re working longer hours, consuming more than ever, and treat being busy as a status symbol. In a …

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Main Program: Stressing the Source

26 Oct 2017 15:45 /

Climate change and diminishing natural resources are two major environmental problems plaguing nations across the globe. These alarming realities are intensified in impoverished areas, and understanding their regional impacts is …

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Main Program: Put Your Whole Self In

26 Oct 2017 15:45 /

Putting the live in their delivery, these scribes take their words to the world via powerful performances. Storytelling, poetry slams and stagecraft all require a special physical presence. Get ready …

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Main Program: The Magic Touch

26 Oct 2017 15:45 /

Fairy tales, fantastical turns and flights of fancy: stories are often unbound by reality. From portentous dragonflies and forest jinns to a society created by children where adults are almost …

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Main Program: Poetic Calling

27 Oct 2017 09:00 /

Of the 913 works submitted to this year’s Emerging Writers Program, poetry was the most popular type comprising 40% of submissions. But writing poetry seems a somewhat lonely and quiet …

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Main Program: Michael Vatikiotis: Blood and Silk

27 Oct 2017 09:00 /

Having studied, worked and traveled in Southeast Asia as a journalist and peace mediator for more than three decades, Michael Vatikiotis peers beyond brand new shopping malls and shiny glass …

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Main Program: Madeleine Thien: Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Spanning decades and diasporas, Madeleine Thien’s stories “remind us what fiction can do” (New Statesman). She takes the UWRF stage to discuss the Booker-shortlisted Do Not Say We Have Nothing, …

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Main Program: Origin Stories

27 Oct 2017 10:15 /

Each nation, society, and cultural and ethnic group has its own unique genesis stories – narratives describing their respective origins and meanings for existence. In this exploration of the Festival’s …

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