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Jo’s Blog: Awe inspiring start to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival!

8 October 2009

Began the festival with a book launch from Australian author Margo O’Byrne whose book ‘Left Unsaid’ is a true act of resilience. After the tragic death of her father at a young age, Margo witnessed her mother’s descent into alcoholism resulting in the neglect of both Margo and her brother. The audience was moved to tears as fellow author Arnold Zable read an excerpt from the book which detailed Margo being found ‘guilty’ by the courts for being an abused child. Stirring memoirs which remind us of how writing can really help one understand oneself.

Met fellow book launch author Margaret Stephenson Meere there, who launches her own groundbreaking spiritual parenting book ‘The Child within the Lotus: Human Behavior from Birth’ tomorrow. She’s a fascinating lady who explained that her book had almost become like a birthing process and aligned her book launch as a process of letting go, almost like a “child at the first day of school”. She explained that her guide is not merely focusing on parenting techniques but also delves into the ‘child within’ and the role of ‘parenting ideas’ throughout life. Excited to see what occurs at her book launch!

Wearing traditional Balinese dress or ‘kabaya’ I followed up the book launch with the Official Gala Opening at the Ubud Palace; a beautifully ornate Hindu temple in the centre of Ubud. Balinese dances, poetry readings and welcome speeches were the order of the evening.

Wandered down a sleepy street in Ubud, taking small steps in my sarong; I entered the Puri Dalem, a dramatically lit temple that set the scene for a tribute to the powerful performance poet WS Redraw who recently passed away. He returned to Indonesia from New York and found a spirited passion in the Indonesian people. His poetry and plays, which he called ‘pamphlets’, reflected the current state of society at the time and were deemed so controversial that, in 1978, Rendra was imprisoned for one year without trial, following a poetry reading in Jakarta. Friends and fellow poets, both Indonesian and foreign helped to bring this charismatic character to life.

What a wonderful way to start a most fascinating literary journey, I can’t wait for tomorrow.

(Jo & Rico are covering the 2009 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival for various social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and this WordPress Blog.)

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