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Program Category: Main Program

From intimate in-conversations between leading authors, artists, activists, chefs, farmers and performers, to fiery debates on some of the region’s most pressing issues, KEMBALI20 Main Program takes place from 29 October–08 November. Spanning 60+ digital sessions over 11 days, the sessions are available to view on ubudwritersfestival.com by creating a user account.

We invite you to donate what you can to get an ALL ACCESS to KEMBALI20 digital programs. You may choose from IDR150,000, IDR200,000, IDR500,000, IDR1,000,000 or more. By donating, you can get all access to KEMBALI20 60+ digital Main Program and re-watch them for the next month after the Festival. Please understand that we don’t want money to be a barrier to accessing our programs, but the future of Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati relies on your support and generosity.


Main Program | William Dalrymple: The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

05 Nov 2020 15:00 /

Bestselling author and historian William Dalrymple returns with The Anarchy, which explores how the Mughal Empire fell and was replaced by a multinational corporation based thousands of miles away – …

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Main Program | Oka Rusmini: Men Coblong

05 Nov 2020 16:00 /

Starting out as a column in the Bali Post, writer and journalist Oka Rusmini’s “Men Coblong” offered a feminine perspective on mothers and women. The character of Men Coblong, a …

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Main Program | Richard Fidler: The Golden Maze: A Biography of Prague

05 Nov 2020 17:00 /

In The Golden Maze, Richard Fidler describes Prague as a city where history is ‘‘written in pencil, erased, rewritten and erased again … a fabulous palimpsest of stories.’’ Sit back …

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Main Program | Avni Doshi: Burnt Sugar

05 Nov 2020 18:00 /

Avni Doshi’s Burnt Sugar has been shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. “An unsettling, sinewy debut, startling in its venom and disarming in its humour from the very first sentence,” …

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Main Program | Art as Hope During a Crisis

06 Nov 2020 13:00 /

Art provides us with hope and guidance during a crisis. It enables us to explore what it means to be human, and to unite people and ideas. But COVID-19 has …

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Main Program | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: The Mountains Sing

06 Nov 2020 14:00 /

The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, born in 1920, was forced to …

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Main Program | How can startups survive COVID-19?

06 Nov 2020 15:00 /

With its vast population and diverse economy, Indonesia’s startup scene was thriving prior to the pandemic. Last year Google predicted that the nation’s internet economy would grow to US$100 billion …

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Main Program | Antony Lowenstein: Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs

06 Nov 2020 16:00 /

Pills, Powder, and Smoke investigates the individuals, officials, activists, victims, DEA agents, and traffickers caught up in this deadly war. Traveling through the UK, the US, Australia, Honduras, the Philippines, …

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Main Program | A Creative Response

06 Nov 2020 17:00 /

It’s natural to feel unmotivated and distracted during a crisis; it’s natural to have great difficulty focusing. But for some creatives, COVID-19 has provided new sources of inspiration and ideas, …

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Main Program | Conserving Ancient Texts

07 Nov 2020 10:00 /

In South and Southeast Asia, technical and spiritual knowledge was traditionally inscribed on dried palm leaves, known as lontar. Bali is home to thousands of these palm leaf manuscripts, but …

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Main Program | Kate Forsyth: Rewriting Fairytales

07 Nov 2020 11:00 /

Named one of Australia’s finest writers of this generation, Kate Forsyth is inspired by classic fairytales and folklore, and retells them from a feminist perspective. Join Kate in a conversation …

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Main Program | Bali’s Young Writers

07 Nov 2020 12:00 /

What does Bali look like through the eyes of some of its most promising young writers? As one of the world’s top travel destinations, countless words have been written about …

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Main Program | Maya Soetoro-Ng: Stories and Arts for Peacebuilding

07 Nov 2020 13:00 /

Maya Soetoro-Ng is a Consultant for the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance and Leaders: Asia Pacific Program. A former Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at …

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Main Program | Kevin Kwan: Sex and Vanity

07 Nov 2020 14:00 /

Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan returns with an outrageously funny comedy of manners set between two cultures and two breathtaking locales. Peppered with his trademark wit and exuberant love …

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Main Program | Manal Younus: Reap

07 Nov 2020 16:00 /

A Muslim with Eritrean origins, Manal Younus is a rising poet, storyteller and activist with a unique perspective on life in Australia. Using poetry, theatre and performance, Manal explores a …

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Main Program | Balinese Language Today

08 Nov 2020 10:00 /

Many Balinese have remarked that increased time at home due to health protocols has resulted in a renewed focus on traditions and culture, with Balinese language being one of them. …

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Main Program | Doug Bock Clark: The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life

08 Nov 2020 11:00 /

What is lost when a culture disappears? This question is at the heart of Doug Bock Clark’s account of the Lamalerans, one of Indonesia’s last remaining hunter-gatherer groups who for …

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Main Program | Krithika Varagur: The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project

08 Nov 2020 12:00 /

Award-winning American journalist, Krithika Varagur, focuses on religion and politics in Southeast and South Asia. Her first book, The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project, examines the effects of …

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Main Program | David Byrne: American Utopia

08 Nov 2020 14:00 /

“If, among the American pop stars born mid-20th century, Springsteen stands for heart and Prince is sex, Byrne – by reputation at least – is brains,” wrote Robert Armstrong in …

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