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History


History

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was first conceived by Festival Director Janet DeNeefe in response to the 2003 Bali bombings. The major project annual project of not-for-profit foundation Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, the Festival aims to bring Indonesian and international writers together on a world’s stage. From modest beginnings, it has since grown to be one of Southeast Asia’s largest literary events, drawing over 26,000 people in 2014 and 30,620 in 2015.

2004

The inaugural Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was held from 11 – 17 October. The theme of the Festival was ‘Through Darkness to Light’, and was held across 27 venues in Ubud. Notable contributors to the 67-strong program included:

– Tony Wheeler
– Nury Vittachi
– Michael Vatikiotis
– Laksmi Pamuntjak
– Goenawan Mohamad

2005

Poster 2005The second Ubud Writers & Readers Festival took place from 8 – 11 October, focusing on the theme ‘Between Worlds’. The line-up spanned 107 writers from across Indonesia and the world, including:

– Amitav Ghosh
– Xanana Gusmao
– Michael Ondaatje
– Dewi Lestari
– Shaun Tan

2006

Poster 2006In 2006, the third Ubud Writers & Readers Festival ran from 28 September to 3 October, celebrating the theme of ‘Place, Time, Identity’. It took place across 27 venues in Ubud and featured 96 authors. Some of the headlining contributors were:

– Madhur Jaffrey
– William Dalyrmple
– Christopher Kremmer
– Anita Desai
– Sapardi Djoko Damono

 

2007

Poster 2007The 2007 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was held from 25 – 30 September. It spanned 32 venues in Ubud and featured 92 writers, including:

– Richard Flanagan
– Adib Kahn
– Kiran Desai
– Kathy Reichs
– Peter Goldsworthy

 

2008

Poster 2008In 2008, the fifth UWRF ran from 14 – 19 October. It explored the theme ‘God Humanity Nature’, running in 43 venues across Ubud. The line-up featured 94 authors, including:

– Vikram Seth
– Andrea Hirata
– John Berendt
– Melina Marchetta

 

2009

Poster 2009The sixth Ubud Writers & Readers Festival took place from 7 – 11 October, focusing on the theme ‘Compassion & Solidarity’. It spanned 46 venues and included 106 writers in the program, a new milestone. Key contributors included:

– Fatima Bhutto
– Sonya Hartnett
– Lloyd Jones
– Vikas Swarup
– Wole Soyinka

 

2010

The 2010 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival honoured the theme ‘Harmony in Diversity’. It ran from 6 – 10 October across 50 venues, featuring over 146 writers. Headlining names included:

– Louis de Bernières
– Tash Aw
– Anne Enright
– Thomas Keneally
– Christos Tsiolkas

2011

From 5 – 9 October, the eighth UWRF celebrated the theme of ‘Cultivate the Land Within’. It spanned 57 venues and 120 literary contributors, including:

– Alex Miller
– Alexander McCall Smith
– Andrea Hirata
– DBC Pierre
– Junot Diaz
– Paul Kelly

2012

Poster Small 2012The 2012 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival ran from 3-7 October. Exploring the theme ‘This Earth of Mankind’, the Festival took place across 52 venues and showcased 135 writers, including:

– Anna Funder
– Jeffrey Eugenides
– John Pilger
– Jose Ramos-Horta
– Nick Cave

2013

Poster 2013The 10th anniversary of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival took place from 12-15 October, exploring the theme of ‘Through Darkness to Light’. Its largest year yet, the line-up featured 200 writers, including:

– Goenawan Mohamad
– Garin Nugroho
– Ayu Utami
– Dewi Lestari
– Laksmi Pamuntjak
– Ahmad Fuadi
– Sebastian Faulks
– Lionel Shriver
– Tony Wheeler
– Michael Leunig
– Nury Vittachi
– Lydia Cacho
– Amish Tripathi
– Kim Scott
– Richard Flanagan
– Clare Bowditch
– David Vann

2014

UWRF_poster2014_SARASWATI_webIn 2014, the UWRF returned for its 11th year from October 1 – 5. Featuring over 165 writers from more than 25 countries, the program paid tribute to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. Notable literary contributors included:

– Amitav Ghosh
– Colin Thubron
– Bondan Winarno
– Val McDermid
– Eimear McBride
– Cyrus Mistry
– Mem Fox
– Robin Davidson
– Goenawan Mohamad
– Azyumardi Azra

2015

The 2015 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival took place 28 October – 1 November and welcomed more than 165 writers, artists and thinkers to celebrate the theme 17,000 Islands of Imagination – a theme chosen by the Frankfurt Book Fair for the Guest of Honour Nation, Indonesia. UWRF