Program Category: Main Program

From intimate in-conversations between leading authors, artists, thinkers and performers, to fiery debates on some of the region’s most pressing issues, the Main Program takes place from 24–27 October.

Spanning 70 sessions over four days, it’s 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 runs between each venue and Museum Puri Lukisan on Jl. Raya Ubud every 30 minutes, from 8:00am to 6:00pm.


Main Program | Festival Welcome

24 Oct 2019 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 two keynote speeches. …

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Main Program | Karma and Kindness

24 Oct 2019 10:15 /

Around the world, kindness is synonymous with karma: make a conscious choice to do good to others and good will come to you. But despite our best intentions, true kindness …

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Main Program | Asia Pacific Futures on the Page, Stage and Screen

24 Oct 2019 10:15 /

In a 2019 Entertainment Weekly interview, Amy Tan reflected on the 30 years since her groundbreaking novel The Joy Luck Club was published, commenting on the remarkable difference in Asian …

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Main Program | The Price of Democracy

24 Oct 2019 10:15 /

Jakarta’s deadly riots following the formal results issued after Indonesia’s 17 April elections overshadowed what had been a peaceful process. Jokowi’s victory was a sigh of relief for the nation’s …

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Main Program | Indonesian Emerging Writers 2019

24 Oct 2019 11:45 /

Each year UWRF puts a call out to emerging writers across the archipelago: send us your stories. This year we received 1,253 submissions, the highest number since the Emerging Writers …

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Main Program | The Crime Scene

24 Oct 2019 11:45 /

When it comes to crime readers can’t get enough. We devour cosy classics, whodunnits and courtroom dramas, and are eternally fascinated by hard-boiled detectives, organized crime syndicates, plot twists and …

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Main Program | Lucy Inglis: Milk of Paradise

24 Oct 2019 11:45 /

Poppy tears, opium, heroin, fentanyl: poppy latex is a commodity without rival. Acclaimed cultural historian Lucy Inglis takes us on an epic journey from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America and …

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Main Program | Islam Today

24 Oct 2019 13:00 /

According to nonpartisan fact tank Pew Research Center, in the second half of this century Muslims will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group. From fractious headlines to …

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Main Program | Read to Me: Mother Tongue

24 Oct 2019 13:00 /

We’ve gathered a stellar line up of UWRF’s finest to regale you with readings in their mother tongues, from Turkey to East Nusa Tenggara. There’s nothing left for you to …

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Main Program | Enlightenment for All

24 Oct 2019 13:00 /

Cacao circles, crystal alchemy, cosmic consciousness, Sufi dance, sky yoga, sound healing… the number and diversity of Bali’s spiritual and wellness activities is astounding. The island has become a melting …

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Main Program | Location, Location, Location

24 Oct 2019 14:30 /

When setting looms large, readers close a book missing the location within as much as they miss its characters. From sprawling South Asian capitals to ancient Australian wilderness, these writers …

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Main Program | Megan K. Stack: Women’s Work

24 Oct 2019 14:30 /

Women employing women, mothers employing mothers: hiring domestic help has long been the solution for mothers seeking work/family balance. Former war journalist and new mother Megan K. Stack examines class, …

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Main Program | Writing Mental Health

24 Oct 2019 14:30 /

Mental health is increasingly part of public debate, but in many cultures and contexts it still carries stigma and shame. No strangers to mental illness, our panelists invite you to …

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Main Program | The Hijab Files

24 Oct 2019 15:45 /

Spiritual garment, fashion accessory, piece of armor, symbol of empowerment: the hijab is no one thing. We hear from a panel of Muslim women whose writing about hijabs is far …

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Main Program | Parag Khanna: The Future is Asian

24 Oct 2019 15:45 /

Economic and strategic partnerships are burgeoning across Asia and the region is sharing governance and trade linkages like never before – the ‘Asian Century’ is much bigger than you might …

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Main Program | Lemn Sissay: My Name is Why

24 Oct 2019 15:45 /

After a childhood in care, 17-year-old Norman Greenwood saw his birth certificate for the first time: his name was Lemn Sissay, he was British-Ethiopian, and his mother had never stopped …

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Main Program | Guy Gunaratne: In Our Mad and Furious City

25 Oct 2019 09:00 /

“We’re sure Guy is set for big things,” said Metro on the release of Guy Gunaratne’s novel In Our Mad and Furious City, a snapshot of 48 hours in the …

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Main Program | Rise of the Tiger

25 Oct 2019 09:00 /

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the 16th largest in the world. By 2030, it’s predicted to be the fourth largest in the world. What will it take to …

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Main Program | Throwing Out the Rule Book

25 Oct 2019 09:00 /

It takes an adventurous writer to throw tried and tested structures out the window and play with the infinite possibilities of text – and an even more intrepid reader to …

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Main Program | Imagining the Past

25 Oct 2019 10:15 /

Weaving fiction with historical threads is no easy feat. It demands a constant juggling act between the factual and the imaginary, reality and memory. Our panel explores the challenges and …

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