Festival 2023 Releases First Speakers’ Lineup, Announces Early Bird Ticket Sales

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) is proud to release its first speaker lineup and announce the launch of the first writers' retreat event to mark the commencement of Early Bird ticket sales on 12 July. The 20th anniversary edition of the festival will take place from 18-22 October 2023, with the theme ‘Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: Past, Present, Future.’

Emerging, established, and celebrated voices will present at UWRF 2023. We are thrilled to announce that our first international speakers lineup comprises the fearless defender of the environment, Vandana Shiva; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist, Geraldine Brooks; Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo; 2022 International Booker Prize winner, Geetanjali Shree; 2022 Booker Prize winner, Shehan Karunatilaka; Behrouz Boochani, journalist, human rights defender, writer and film producer; and the unexpected comedic meanderings of Australian political journalists Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb.

Indonesian literary luminaries include Balinese senior author and playwright Putu Wijaya; young literary voice and visual artist Lala Bohang; senior poet, essayist, journalist, and visual artist Goenawan Mohamad, creator of this year's festival artwork; 2020 SEA Literary Awards recipient, Leila S. Chudori; author, singer-songwriter Dewi Lestari; artist and cultural icon Sujiwo Tedjo; Acehnese artist and storyteller Agus Nur Amal (PM Toh); as well as feminist author and scholar Intan Paramaditha.

In exciting news, UWRF is thrilled to launch its first writing retreat from 15 October to 22 October. Set in the lush grounds of the 5-star Plataran Resort & Spa, renowned novelists Louise Doughty, Jill Dawson, Kathryn Heyman, and Kate Pullinger will take participants on an immersive three-day writing adventure like no other. Following this, attendees will experience four days of festival magic, including the exclusive opening Gala, dinner at Casa Luna hosted by Janet DeNeefe and much more.

Hannah Curtis, our new Head of International Programming, stepped into the role this month and will now lead the creative vision for this year's festival, alongside Festival Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe, Indonesian Program Manager Gustra Adnyana, and Program Coordinator Ni Wayan Prima.

Artistic Director Janet DeNeefe said, “Hannah's passion for cultivating public dialogue will create an exciting and inspirational program, perfect for our 20th anniversary.” Previously, Hannah has worked for acclaimed Australian cultural institutions, including The Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the much-loved Melbourne Art Book Fair.

On her appointment, Hannah Curtis said, "I am very excited to be joining the Ubud Writers Festival as Head of International Programming. The Ubud Writers Festival is one of the world's most celebrated literary events and provides a vital space for community and critical discussion on the issues that matter to us most. The festival theme 'Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: Past, Present and Future' will explore the power of storytelling and ideas that embrace and understand that the future is in the hands of the present, which we look at with open eyes and a sense of joy and hope."

Artistic Director Janet DeNeefe said, “Over the years, our Festival has cemented its reputation as a world-class event that continually presents award-winning, internationally recognized authors, thinkers, and activists, along with exciting new voices from the latest literary zeitgeist to intellectual commentary and current affairs. This year is incredibly special as it's our 20th Anniversary and our 2023 program will be no less exceptional.”


With the release of our first speaker lineup, the Festival is also launching its Early Bird 4-Day Festival Pass sales, which will start today and end on 16 August, coinciding with the release of the Festival's full program. The 4-Day Festival Pass will grant visitors access to all UWRF 2023 main programs featuring these speakers. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit ubudwritersfestival.com/tickets.

Our Media Kit provides biographies and headshots of our first lineup of speakers. Additionally, it contains all the necessary resources and materials to enhance your coverage and promotion of the festival.

For press release inquiries or interview requests with Janet DeNeefe or Hannah Curtis, please contact Sebastian Partogi through WhatsApp at +62 812 1353 7156 or email at sebastian@yayasansaraswati.org.

Our Media Kit provides biographies and headshots of our first lineup of speakers.
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