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Unveiling the Festival Theme and Artwork for our 20th Anniversary!

Posted: 25 May 2023

Get ready to immerse yourself in a literary celebration like no other as the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) returns for its momentous 20th anniversary festival from 18-22 October 2023. This year, the festival embraces the theme of Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: The Past, the Present, and the Future.

The Festival theme is inspired by the Balinese concept of ‘Tri Semaya,’ which is the philosophical view of time as non-linear, circular and collective. It embodies the idea of Atita, Wartamana, Anagata as inseparable and existing simultaneously. The concept evokes a metaphysical representation of ‘being’ that goes beyond the life of a single individual. It places an importance on balance and harmony that weaves a delicate thread that ties humanity together across time and space. It transcends individualism for our mutual sustenance from one generation to the next.

The UWRF will, once again, showcase emerging and established writers, artists, intellectuals, cultural scholars, and speakers who will share their vision of history, current affairs, and the future of our world. The festival will also pay tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to building and nurturing our literary landscape, supporting Indonesian and global literature, and promoting literacy.

Founder and director of UWRF, Janet DeNeefe, expresses her excitement for the festival’s milestone anniversary, stating, “It’s important that our 2023 program captures our journey over the past 20 years as a celebration of the literary arts and our ever-growing creative community. It is also a time for the Festival to reflect on what we have achieved and where we plan to see ourselves in the next 20 years.”

Renowned Indonesian journalist, poet, and essayist Goenawan Mohamad has created the captivating artwork for the festival. As the founder of Tempo Magazine, his controversial weekly column, Catatan Pinggir (Sidelines), gained widespread readership, even in the face of frequent censorship during the Soeharto regime. Mohamad’s artistic contribution adds depth and significance to the festival, capturing the essence of UWRF’s spirit.

Prepare to be captivated by a diverse range of programs that will take you on a journey through personal and collective history, spiritual rejuvenation, and the social, environmental, economic, and political landscapes of our contemporary world. Engage in thought-provoking discussions, discover new perspectives, and connect with fellow literature enthusiasts.

You can now download the artwork created by Goenawan Mohamad by clicking here. Don’t miss the opportunity to own a limited edition print of this stunning piece, which will be available for sale soon.

Stay tuned for the highly anticipated lineup announcement. Also, make sure to mark your calendars with the following key dates:

  • Wednesday, 12 July: First Line-up Announcement + Early Bird Tickets On Sale
  • Monday, 14 August: Start Media Accreditation
  • Wednesday, 16 August: Full Program Announcement
  • Festival Weekend: 18-22 October 2023