Ten Indonesian Writers selected for Emerging Writers Program

Ubud, 30 April 2024—Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati is thrilled to announce the talented Indonesian writers selected for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2024 Emerging Writers Program. From 449 submissions, ten Indonesian writers were chosen by the curating team of literary figures Dee Lestari, Faisal Oddang, and Putu Juli Sastrawan for their exceptional and original stories. These writers will now participate in a mentorship program, including the publication of their work in the annual anthology and being featured at the 2024 Festival this October.

Held annually since 2008, this program has been a beacon for discovering young Indonesian literary talents and, as the foundation aimed, introducing them to the regional and international literary scene. Two of the three curators involved this year are also alumni of the Emerging Writers program, along with names who have established their place in the Indonesian literary community such as Dias Novita Wuri, Rio Johan, Andina Dwifatma, and Norman Erikson Pasaribu.

This program used to welcome a range of works, including short stories, poetry, and literary criticism. However, since 2022, the focus has shifted exclusively to short stories. This year, the festival welcomed submissions of short stories from Indonesian writers that uniquely capture the essence of localities and embody local wisdom in their works.

Throughout the submission period from 8 January to 29 February 2024, the Festival received a total of 1.347 short stories from 449 authors hailing from diverse regions across Indonesia, spanning from Aceh to Papua. This figure nearly doubled the total number of writers who submitted their work in 2022, demonstrating the growing enthusiasm for this program.

The selection commenced with the pre-curation process, where the pool of submissions was narrowed down to the top 50 candidates, followed by the curation process which ultimately selected the final 10 names. Both the pre-curation and curation process were conducted anonymously, with the three curators selecting the finalists solely based on the works submitted to the festival.

Storytelling techniques, language prowess, and the ideas explored by the writers through their short stories are some of the main aspects in selecting these ten names. Indonesian novelist Faisal Oddang, who is also the alumni of the program, said, “The selected writers are the writers who artfully blend their storytelling techniques, their language prowess, and their ideas, which are the backbone of the story”.

The ten emerging writers who have been selected for the program are:

  • Ade Mulyono, Tegal, Central Java
  • Adibah L. Najmy, Gowa, South Sulawesi
  • Arif Kurniawan, Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu
  • Arif P. Putra, Padang, West Sumatra
  • Cicilia Oday, Kotamobagu, North Sulawesi
  • Goebahan R, Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands
  • Kurnia Gusti Sawiji, Tangerang, Banten
  • Mega Anindyawati, Sidoarjo, East Java
  • Miranda Seftiana, Kandangan, South Kalimantan
  • Nanda Winar Sagita, Takengon, Aceh

Putu Juli Sastrawan, Indonesian author and program alumni, added: “They have extraordinary abilities not only in building interesting and compelling storylines, but also in exploring the power of language. I think their stories will continue to haunt you even after you finish reading them”. However, each of the three curators also have their critical insights for the writers—ranging from the structure to the consistency of their works.

Following their selection, the emerging writers will embark on a series of writing workshops before being introduced and featured in this year’s festival—enriching the annual literary celebration with their fresh perspectives and vibrant storytelling. Renowned Indonesian fiction writer Dee Lestari, who has been the program’s curator two times, expressed hopes for the ten selected writers: "This program is one of the most awaited ones because of its prestige and sustainable impact... I hope this program will drive these writers’ potential and motivation to consistently write," she said.

"Every year I am blown away by those who submit their work; for their creativity and their passion. Congratulations to these wonderful, young talents. May this be the start of a transformative journey on their path as writers,” said Janet DeNeefe, Founder & Director of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. “And to every brave voice who submitted their well-crafted stories, I want to acknowledge that just submitting is incredible by its own right—keep going!”

Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati is also seeking support for these emerging literary talents and helping shape incredible careers as published authors through its community-building Emerging Writers Patron Program. Donations provide funding for the translation and publication of the Anthology, as well as airfares, accommodation, and honorarium for each of ten finalists. Each gift will also enable their participation in the 2024 Festival.

“Our Patron Program helps us to provide a life-changing opportunity for each chosen talent to learn, connect, and be inspired through our program, and we greatly appreciate anyone who joins us in this and helps us create a better future for the voices of tomorrow,” added Janet DeNeefe.


For inquiries or interview requests with Janet DeNeefe, the Festival Founder and Director, or Gustra Adnyana, Indonesian Program Manager, please contact Dewi Setiawan, Media Relations Coordinator, at +62 822 1098 1998 or email at dewi@yayasansaraswati.org.

Headshots and the bios of the ten talents can be found here. To join the Emerging Writers Patron Program, visit ubudwritersfestival.com/support.


Each year, we put out a call across the archipelago for emerging writers to send us their stories. After receiving hundreds of submissions, an independent curatorial board selects aspiring writers from Indonesia's bustling cities and remote islands. Once selected, the emerging writers are invited to launch the Anthology at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. This bilingual publication, the Anthology, represents a significant opportunity for emerging writers to have their work translated into English, opening doors to international opportunities for the first time. With 449 submissions comprising a total of 1,346 stories in 2024, the Emerging Writers Anthology Series has become one of Indonesia's most wide-reaching literary achievements, representing work from across the archipelago.

Our Media Kit provides you with the Press Release in Indonesian and English and the Emerging Writers' biographies and headshots to download.
For Your Media Coverage
Media Kit
Scroll Down