For many writers, readers and lovers of Indonesian literature, frustration at the lack of resources helping to connect with each other and the world is nothing new.
Rather than sit back and accept this as the status quo however, IDwriters last week launched a brand new concept helping to amplify Indonesian voices and connect the industry.
It’s something we also do here at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and so we were pleased to recently attend the opening night at the Goethe-Institute in Jakarta to show our support and soak up some literary readings from local talent.
IDwriters is an independent, free online library dedicated to showcasing Indonesian writers and authors, as well as links to their published works.
Presented in English, the site aims to break down the language barriers that have prevented Indonesian literature from becoming more widespread.
Profiling more than 250 writers and with limitless space to grow, the website is a powerful platform for showcasing Indonesian literature and sharing it with the world.
Many of the writers are familiar faces for another who have attended our Festival here in Ubud – with Goenawan Mohamad, Agus Rois, Azyumardi Azra, Debra Yatim and Erni Aladjai just a few examples.
The website also contains a ‘writers directory’, a simple way for writers to find one another and for industry stakeholders – such as literary organisers, arts administrators, librarians and booksellers – to strengthen their networks of new and existing talent.
With Indonesia this year’s Guest of Honour at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, founder of IDwriters Valent Mustamin says bringing Indonesian voices to the world’s stage is more important and topical than ever before.
“It’s very hard for people to find out information about Indonesian writers, even through simple methods such as a Google search,” he said.
“Technology opens up a wider space so that the work of Indonesian writers can be better appreciated, and become more well known.”
As well as the new site, IDwriters will also be releasing a bi-monthly magazine, featuring poems, stories and reviews from writers across the archipelago.
The IDwriters website and magazine was officially launched last Thursday 29 January at the Goethe-Institute, to coincide with celebrations for the organisation’s Literary Day.
Hundreds of lovers of Indonesian literature packed the auditorium for live performances by authors Seno Gumira Ajidarma and Rain Chudori, as well as being serenaded by the acoustic tunes of Banda Neira.