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Global Voices in Borobudur

3 October 2009

“Global Voices in Borobudur” will bring ten writers from around the world and five Indonesian writers to the world’s largest Buddhist temple at Borobudur to present their work on October 13, 2009, as an extension of the 2009 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The readings and spoken word performances will commence at Manohara at 6:00 p.m., on the Borobudur temple grounds. The presentation will be free of charge and open to the public.

The writers’ performance at Borobudur marks the first time that the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival’s organisers have expanded this international literary festival’s events beyond Bali. Borobudur lies near Yogyakarta in Central Java, the neighboring island west of Bali. The theme of the Festival is Suka Duka: Solidarity and Compassion.

“It is a big leap and really exciting to extend the Ubud Writers Festival from Bali to Borobudur in Java,” said Festival founder Janet DeNeefe. “Buddha’s spirit of compassion and his timeless teachings can help us to navigate the many global problems we face today. It is fitting that the festival, with its theme of ‘Compassion & Solidarity’ culminates at Borobudur.”

borobudurBorobudur provides a stunning and relevant setting for these reading. The temple is located in Central Java and is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a 400-foot tall mountain of stone carved in the eighth century. The temple features reliefs depicting the Buddha’s life and teaching in concentric terraces, as well as 504 life-sized Buddha statues. Its beauty and grandeur has inspired millions of visitors and pilgrims since its full restoration was completed in 1982.

Writers presenting their works at Borobudur include the following:

Fatima Bhutto, a journalist and writer, is from Pakistan. Her father was Murtaza Bhutto, who was killed by police in 1996 in Karachi during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto. Fatima’s third book, a history of the Bhutto family, will be published in the UK by Jonathan Cape in 2010.

Michelle Cahill edited the transnational anthology Poetry Without Borders (Picaro, 2008). Her forthcoming collection Vishvarupa is themed around Hindu deities. Michelle has sojourned in monasteries and ashrams in Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal and Bali, to practice yoga and vipassana meditation.

Andrew McMillan Andrew’s close contact with the people of East Arnhem Land has resulted in essential reading for those with an interest in Aboriginal history. His award winning book An Intruders Guide to East Arnhem Land tells of a moving and exciting story of warfare, loss, social and cultural struggle, and renewal.

Sophie Hackford is an academic, writer and consultant with a special interest in migration and diaspora. She now works at the innovative James Martin School of the 21st Century at the University of Oxford.

Angelo R. Lacuesta has won the Palanca, Philippine Graphic and NVM Gonzalez Awards for his short fiction. His first book Life Before X and Other Stories won the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award and the National Book Award in 2000. His second collection White Elephants: stories won the National Book Award in 2005. He has recently published a third collection Flames and other stories and is at work on his first novel.

Sosiawan Leak was born in Solo in 1967. His published poetry includes Umpatan (1995), Cermin Buram (1996), and Dunia Bogambola (2007). He is also playwright, director and performer. In 2006 and 2008, together with two other poets – Martin Jankowski from Berlin and Dorothea Rosa Helriany from Magelang – he has toured Indonesia giving poetry readings.

Antony Loewenstein’s best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict My Israel Question was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. His second book The Blogging Revolution on the Internet in repressive regimes, was released in 2008. He is the co-founder of advocacy group Independent Australian Jewish Voices and contributed to Amnesty International Australia’s 2008 campaign about Chinese Internet repression and the Beijing Olympic Games.

Gunawan Maryanto was born in Jogya in 1976. He is director and writer in Garasi Theater, Jogja. His books include Waktu Batu (a play story written with Andre Nur Latif and Ugoran Prasad, 2004), Bon Suwung (an anthology of short stories, 2005), Galigi (an anthology of short stories, 2007), Perasaan-perasaan yang Menyusun Sendiri Petualangannya (a poetry book, 2008) and Usaha Menjadi Sakti (an anthology of short stories, 2008). He won a “Sih” award in 2007 and a poetry award from Indonesia’s Education and Tourism Ministry in 2007.

Dyah Merta was born in Ponorogo, East Java, in 1978. Her writing has won the Short Story Contest (Jakarta, 2003 and Lampung 2004). She has published two books – Hetaira, an anthology of short stories, in 2005 and Peri Kecil di Sungai Nipah, a novel, in 2007.

Omar Musa was the 2008 Australian Poetry Slam champion, who has swum with piranhas and alligators in Bolivia and taught Aboriginal children in outback Australia. The 25-year-old Malaysian-Australian baritone has backpacked almost every continent and has a treasure-trove of stories to tell. Musa was a winner of the British Council’s Realise Your Dream award in 2007.

Ugoran Prasad was born in Tanjungkarang, Sumatra, in 1978. He is coordinator at Garasi Theater in Jogya and manager of programs for the Indonesian Performing Art Society. In 2008 he was a visiting scholar in the Performance Studies Department, Tisch School of The Arts, New York University.

Jeet Thayil, born in Kerala, India, is a poet, novelist and musician. He is one half of the experimental music duo Sridhar/Thayil. His four poetry collections include These Errors Are Correct (Tranquebar, 2008) and English (Penguin/Rattapallax, 2004), and he is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, 2008) and Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora (Routledge, 2006).

Triyanto Triwikromo was born in Salatiga, Central Java, 1964. He is editor of Suara Merdeka daily and lecturer of Creative Writing at Universitas Diponegoro Semarang. His anthologies of short stories include Rezim Seks (1987), Ragaula (2002), Sayap Anjing (2003), Anak-anak Mengasah Pisau-Children Sharpening the Knives (bilingual, 2003), Malam Sepasang Lampion (2004) and Ular Di Mangkuk Nabi (2009).

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