by Julia Winterflood
What makes a great literary festival? A stellar line-up of speakers, superb venues, and exciting after dark events? Or the opportunity to meet your favourite writers and artists in an intimate environment – to take part in genuine conversations you’ll remember long after you head home? This is the essence of the #UWRF16 Special Events Program – exclusive occasions that unite audiences with authors to enrich their Festival experience, often over the most universal of shared passions – fantastic food. Below is a synopsis of some of the most sumptuous Special Events, and for the full list click here.
In the spectacular surrounds of Alila, listen in to the awe-inspiring adventure tales of three intrepid travelers. Richard Loseby’s wanderings have taken him across Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan and China, and his latest novel – A Boy of China – traces Mao’s own revolutionary journey. Joining Richard is Heather Ellis, who’ll share stories of her solo two-wheeled odyssey across Africa, and the local wisdom she encountered along the way. American novelist and critic Jamie James completes the peripatetic trio. Based in Indonesia since 1999, his latest work – a global study of expatriate artists and writers – will resonate strongly in Bali. What better way to hear these nomadic narratives than by sharing a lavish spread, and swapping travel tales of your own.
If you’re a literature lover yet to experience Ubud’s highly-lauded, hot-ticket restaurant Locavore, there could be no finer chance than Look Who’s Coming to Lunch – a decadent degustation with six Festival favourites. Join South Korean-American novelist and investigative journalist Suki Kim, British author Lousie Doughty, Australian author and former solicitor David Dyer, Indonesian travel writer and photographer Agustinus Wibowo, British writer and distinguished Indonesia commentator Elizabeth Pisani, and South Indian writer and poet Jeet Thayil for an exceptional conversational and culinary experience.
The Long Table Dinner is set to be a lively affair, as a bevy of book-lovers and wordsmiths from across the globe share spritely conversation over scrumptious cuisine. Delight in Indonesian delicacies from across the archipelago with Australian author Chris Raja, Singaporean journalist and author Cheryl Lu-Lien Than, Turkish poet and author Çiler İlhan, Indonesian author Leila S. Chudori, Indian author, blogger and photographer Mayank Austen Soofi, Indonesian author and screenwriter Ratih Kumala, Australian educational writer and digital education pioneer Russell Darnley, and Austrian author Susanne Gregor.
For dedicated foodies this Special Event is essential. Valli Little, senior contributing editor of delicious. magazine and author of 12 cherished recipe books, will share her deep love of food over a delectable brunch at Ubud institution Casa Luna, where the Balinese and Indonesian cuisine is world class. Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder and Director, and culinary doyenne, Janet DeNeefe, will also be there to share fabulous foodie fables.
Do you know selamat pagi and terima kasih, but stumble when these obrolan progress? How about om swastiastu and matur suksma? Indonesians are renowned for their ebullient appreciation of travellers making an effort with their lingua franca – and even more so with their local language! Commencing your Festival day with the basics of Bahasa Indonesia or Basa Bali – key greetings, the dos and don’ts, as well as useful phrases – over Balinese treats and coffee could make a world of difference to your Festival adventure, and your time Indonesia.
The lost art of letter writing comes alive in the enchanting evening atmosphere of Indus, for literary fixtures Women of Letters and People of Letters. A selection of Festival guests from across the world write, and recite, a letter to the audience. Honest, funny, poignant, moving – these magical events have become firm Festival favourites, so be sure to secure your ticket before they sell out.
There’s little wonder renowned iconoclast Lionel Shriver brought a bit of brouhaha to the Brisbane Writers Festival (and the literary world) with her keynote speech on cultural appropriation (read the full transcript here). Never one to shy away from tackling thorny topics, she has given us some of the most acclaimed and compelling works of fiction of recent years. Join an intimate cocktail hour of books, writing and fearless wisdom, and raise a glass with a true master.
Many of these Special Events sell out, so if any in this list have piqued your palate and roused your literary lust, don’t hesitate to buy a ticket. You do not have to hold a 4-Day Pass or 1-Day Pass to purchase a Special Event ticket.
Drop in to the Box Office for Special Events updates, and stay tuned to the website and #UWRF16 social media.