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 25–28 October.

Spanning 70 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

25 Oct 2018 09:00 /

Join us as the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival begins with a traditional Balinese welcome dance, a warm welcome from our Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe, and a keynote speech. …

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Main Program: Crossing Cultures

25 Oct 2018 10:15 /

Born in Iran and exiled to the UK in 1979, Kamin Mohammadi found a new lease on life in bella Italia. Meanwhile, Carlo Pizzati was making his way as an …

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Main Program: The Rights Stuff

25 Oct 2018 10:15 /

Advocates in an age of compassion fatigue, Christine Bader, Gillian Triggs, Saras Dewi and Todung Mulya Lubis have placed human rights at the heart of their work. Active at the …

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Main Program: Susi Pudjiastuti: Sink It

25 Oct 2018 10:15 /

“Sink it” became a national catchphrase after Indonesia’s maverick Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries fulfilled her threat to sink any foreign boats found illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. In …

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Main Program: Kim Scott: Taboo

25 Oct 2018 11:45 /

Stunning. Formidable. Truth-telling. Two-time Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott is at the forefront of storytelling in Australia, tackling difficult questions of its colonial past in a way that expands the …

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Main Program: Janet Steele: Mediating Islam

25 Oct 2018 11:45 /

Janet Steele has been moving between the media landscapes of the west and Southeast Asia for decades. In a richly-layered survey of Indonesian and Malaysian media, she invites us to …

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Main Program: Higher Self

25 Oct 2018 11:45 /

“Writing poetry is like having a conversation with our higher self,” says American poet Jericho Brown. They hail from different generations but the lives of these four writers are shaped …

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Main Program: What Indonesia Taught Me

25 Oct 2018 13:00 /

Making one’s way in a new country can be a rollercoaster ride from despair to delight – daily. Does the reality ever match our imaginings? These writers found a new …

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Main Program: The Big Read: Poetry Edition

25 Oct 2018 13:00 /

It’s one of life’s pleasures: having someone read to you. We’ve assembled a lineup of our most masterful poets in a little corner of the Festival devoted to the loveliness …

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Main Program: Mark Lynas: Seeds of Science

25 Oct 2018 13:00 /

In Seeds of Science, eco-activist Mark Lynas lifts the lid on the controversial story and misunderstood science of GMOs. In the mid-‘90s, as the global media frothed with the risks …

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Main Program: Jane Caro: Plain Speaking

25 Oct 2018 14:30 /

“At some point, I gave up trying to play it safe. I stopped trying to control the uncontrollable.” Novelist, commentator and Walkley Award winner Jane Caro brings a breath of …

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Main Program: Barbara Demick: Nothing to Envy

25 Oct 2018 14:30 /

North Korean children are taught to sing “We have nothing to envy in the world”. Barbara Demick’s poignant and revealing interviews with defectors from Chongjin reveal a reality far more …

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Main Program: Small Towns, Big Imagination

25 Oct 2018 14:30 /

Is there something universal about small towns and rural life? A lack of anonymity, a close community? Does it allow writers to go places that cities don’t? We’ve gathered writers …

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Main Program: The Pursuit of Peace

25 Oct 2018 15:45 /

In an age increasingly defined by difference and hate, these panelists are working to analyze the deep divisions in society and empower others in efforts to promote peace. Take a …

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Main Program: A Cry for Help

25 Oct 2018 15:45 /

As deforestation goes unchecked, corporate plantations encroach on local lives, and mining disrupts the social and ecological equilibrium, Indigenous communities and their natural resources are deeply impacted. We hear from …

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Main Program: Family Footsteps

25 Oct 2018 15:45 /

Picasso’s father was an artist. Gandhi’s a politician. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, they say. Two award-winning filmmakers and two accomplished authors discuss the dynamic of children …

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Main Program: Yeb Saño: Climate Campaigner

26 Oct 2018 09:00 /

Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Yeb Saño has spent decades combating climate change. In this timely conversation he takes the temperature of environmental activism in 2018, and proposes a …

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Main Program: Twenty Years Later

26 Oct 2018 09:00 /

Indonesia, 1998. With the fall of Suharto’s 32-year autocratic regime following years of political turmoil, rioting, and violence, the ‘Reformation Era’ was ushered in. Heaped upon it were promises of …

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Main Program: Gail Jones: The Death of Noah Glass

26 Oct 2018 09:00 /

Parents and children. Love and art. Grief and happiness. Memory and the mystery of time. In her mesmerizing seventh novel, The Death of Noah Glass, Gail Jones cements her reputation …

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Main Program: Islands of Inspiration

26 Oct 2018 10:15 /

Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands and has been attracting artists and writers from abroad for centuries. Hailing from India, the USA and the UK, these writers found infinite inspiration …

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