This year, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) celebrates its 20th festival edition of unifying the world’s most exciting writers, thinkers, and performers. To celebrate its anniversary festival, it will select the best works from emerging writers who passed the selection between 2008 and 2022 in a special anthology collection.
Since 2008, UWRF strives to expand access to the works of young Indonesian writers, and help them tell their stories to the world. Every year, an independent curatorial board selects aspiring novelists, poets, and playwrights from across Indonesia’s bustling cities and remote islands. The talents are then invited to launch a publication, which represents a vital opportunity for them to have their work translated into English—which opens the door for their work to be enjoyed internationally.
To commemorate its 20th festival, UWRF will present a special Anniversary Anthology of works, consisting of the emerging writers who passed the selection between 2008 and 2022. An independent curatorial board will carefully re-evaluate the qualities of the works from all shortlisted writers and storytellers. This includes those from previous years, and our 2022 program. The shortlisted writers will then be pairing up, and collaborating with the aim of sharing poetry in our Anthology collection.
Dwi Ermayanthi, Festival Manager, said: “It will be a great experience to look back over the incredible two decades of exceptional work and powerful storytelling to choose a selection of incredible talents, who have gone on to shape incredible careers as published authors. We hope that this will be a starting point for even more people to share their work in the future.”
Ten talents who have been chosen to join the 2022 Emerging Writers Program are currently demonstrating their writing talents through short stories, poetry, and works of creative nonfiction with the writer and editor, Cynthia Dewi Oka. This mentorship is supported by the US Embassy, Jakarta, and the Directorate General of Culture, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, and Educational Fund Management Institutions through the 2022 Cultural Endowment Fund Utilisation Program.
The regular Festival program will continue by the beginning of August 2023, with the Festival’s search for writers and storytellers. We’ll be asking talented writers to submit their work for the 2024 Festival program. The shortlisted talents will be announced in February 2024 and attend a five-week preparation and writing workshop before appearing at the 2024 Festival.
The Indonesian Emerging Writers Selection is the main program of the UWRF. It aims to bring young writers, and those whose names have never been heard of to speak at the Festival with senior Indonesian and international writers on stage. Every year, ten aspiring novelists, poets, and playwrights from across Indonesia’s bustling cities and remote islands are selected by an independent curatorial board. Once chosen, they are given a life-changing opportunity to learn and connect with established industry professionals at the annual Festival, and to participate in a collection of works by emerging Indonesian writers who have passed the selection in bilingual (Bahasa Indonesia-English).
From 2008 to 2022, UWRF has provided an extraordinary opportunity for 197 emerging writers to appear at the Festival, launched a bilingual anthology collection, and several authors have embarked on a writer exchange program to Australia.