KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival announces full digital lineup

Posted: 10 September 2020


KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20) has announced over 100 storytellers and culinary figures who will join intimate discussions and powerful performances from 29 October – 8 November. Founded by Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati – an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali – KEMBALI20 is an online celebration of literature, food and culture.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati decided not to deliver its annual events, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF), and instead created KEMBALI20 in a digital format to continue supporting Indonesia’s creative and culinary industries during these challenging times.

From Oakland to Oxford, Singapore to Sydney, Denpasar to Dubai, the full lineup of speakers is a testament to the Festival’s cultural diversity. Through digital and on the ground in conversations, panel discussions, music and arts performances, cooking demos and workshops, speakers will share extraordinary stories and enticing recipes.

“Bringing together some of the world’s most powerful voices in a melting pot of artists, authors, activists, entrepreneurs, performers, chefs, and culinary experts, KEMBALI20 is a platform for meaningful exchange and cross-cultural dialogue,” commented KEMBALI20 Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “A place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas and concerns, our Festival transcends cultural and geographical borders to create a truly global community.”

Combining the best of international events UWRF and UFF, KEMBALI20 will be a hub for creativity, culture, food, literature and ideas. Along with the full lineup of speakers, the Festival also announced its impressive list of Main Program sessions, Workshops and Book Launches.

The Festival is honored to welcome Kevin Kwan, listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2018 and author of the international bestselling Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. He will discuss his future projects, including his latest novel, instant New York Times bestseller Sex and Vanity. Also discussing her latest book, Everything Inside, which won The National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Fiction 2019, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat will reflect on her work, her life, Haiti, America, and immigrant stories.

Joining the Festival’s extraordinary lineup is Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, who is the author of the highly-acclaimed children’s book Ladder to the Moon. She will discuss the significance of stories and arts for peacebuilding. Also appearing on the Festival’s digital program is Richard Fidler, one of Australia’s most-loved voices and host of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s most popular podcast, Conversations.

Presenting Indonesian literature to the world is Eka Kurniawan, the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for a Man Booker International Prize. His session is supported by International organization, Writing WA. He’ll appear alongside one of Indonesia’s best loved authors Dee Lestari, who will be part of an in conversation session and a culinary event.

One of the headliners for the Festival’s culinary conversations is Dr Fenny Dwivany, a significant figure for Indonesian women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Her research into bananas with her team, The Banana Group, has broken barriers in female leadership in STEM. Intrepid journalist Adam Leith Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters, will also take us on a fascinating expedition into some of the earth’s most desired fruits, from the wild jungles of Borneo to the orchards of Florida.

For foodies everywhere, joining our cooking demos and culinary events are Chris Salans, one of Bali’s top culinary ambassadorswith his pioneering French cuisine-meets-Balinese flavors, Co-founder of Pengalaman Rasa and advocate for Northen Balinese cuisines Ayu Gayatri Kresna, and international food journalist James Oseland with his highly acclaimed cookbook, Cradle of Flavor. More details on their programs will be available in the second program launch.

In the lead up to the Festival, the KEMBALI20 digital Workshops will give culinary lovers the chance to communicate directly with the experts. While the workshops are donation-based, the Festival’s digital Book Launches are free, and accessible to all on its website and YouTube channel.

KEMBALI20 is a free and donation-based Festival with over 70 sessions available in a digital format, both pre-recorded and live streamed, and limited on the ground sessions for a local audience. The second program launch will highlight the on the ground programs that aim to revitalize the local economy and communities through food and culture.

The on the ground Festival will follow all of the required health protocol, including first aid, temperature checks, sanitizing stations, and will only proceed with the approval of the Indonesian Government.

“We want to stimulate the island’s economy and tourism sector, since Bali is Indonesia’s hardest-hit region, but safety is and always will be our first priority,” said DeNeefe. “Join us to celebrate Indonesian cultural heritage and contemporary culture while rekindling hope and inspiration in extraordinary new ways with KEMBALI.”

Full lineup, Main Program, Workshop and Book Launch now live on our website. By contributing to the Yayasan Patron Program, you’ll be supporting the world of literature and art in Indonesia. Sign up to our enews and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook for the latest updates.