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Jo’s Blog : A Long Table Literary Lunch in the rice fields.

12 October 2009

Jewellery designer John Hardy graciously opened his bamboo doors to the Ubud Writer’s and Reader’s Festival to host a wonderful Long Table Lunch on Saturday.

Passionately committed to environmental sustainability and community issues, Hardy’s production houses are made of bamboo and locally thatched roofing or ‘ylang ylang’ crafted into unique designs. The buildings blend into the surrounding landscape; emerald green rice fields as far as the eye can see.

The long table itself was set outside under a canopy. Guests were presented with bamboo tumblers containing ‘Virgin Mojitos’, a perfect cooler alongside the chilled face towels offered on a hot Bali day. A healthy mix of writers and readers mingled until ‘Hardy Ambassador’ Warrick opened lunch with a welcome speech.

With over 500 local employees, Hardy’s jewelry enterprise is one of Bali’s larger businesses. What makes each piece so special is that designs are all originated on paper rather than computer and are then hand crafted individually. The resulting jewelry sells all over the world in locations such as 5th Avenue.

With over 500 mouths to feed every day, Hardy grows his own organic rice, fruit and vegetables that are then cooked by traditional means foregoing the use of electricity. Our organic Balinese buffet included dishes such as green beans with coconut, the tastiest chicken I’ve ever tasted and marinated vegetable skewers. With one of Bali’s best organic ‘nasi campur’ (rice and a selection of Indonesian delights) in front of me I was ready to here some author’s deliver their favorite excerpts.

Kurdish poet Bejan Matur was first to read some of her poetry, which was then translated. She believes that there is no frontier between poetry and life and travels the world living a nomadic lifestyle.

Malaysian author Lee Su Kim added some wit and humor which was followed up by Shamini Flint who chose to read from both her last Inspector Singh novel and one of her children’s books Ten. I was lucky enough to sit next to Shamini and heard one of the reader’s pose the question “Why are each of your novels set in different places in Asia?” to which she retorted “Gives me a chance to bitch about another destination!” Very funny lady. I’ll be buying Ten for my son when he’s old enough.

Token male orator for the afternoon was Jamal Mahjoub. Jamal grew up in Khartoum in the Sudan and draws on his life experiences to produce his novels and short stories.

By the end of the afternoon my mind was full of poetry, my belly was full of organic faire but sadly my fingers were not full of Hardy’s amazing jewelry. Offer’s please!

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