well read - Ubud Writers & Readers Festival
Written by Karen Martin
Writers from around the world will gather in Bali from October 6–10 for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, a premier literary event in celebration of stories and voices.
The festival has developed into what has been named ‘one of the six best literary festivals in the world’ by Harpers Bazaar UK. In 2010 the festival will celebrate its seventh year with literary lunches, workshops, special events, dinners, and a carnival of poetry and performance in Ubud’s hotels, restaurants, and homes.
The theme for 2010 is ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: Harmony in Diversity’, the Indonesian national motto originating from Sutasoma (a 14th-century Javanese poem), advocating respect between all people, across religious, ethnic, and social differences.
During the festival, Indonesian writers will feature alongside many famous international writers, such as Louis de Berniéres, author of the internationally-acclaimed Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which won the best book Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, was translated into 11 languages, and, in 2001, made into a film starring Nicholas Cage.
Berniéres joins a stellar line-up of more than 100 writers from 28 countries who will gather in Bali to share stories and ideas over five days. Central to this year’s festival is ‘In Conversation’, the series where guests talk about their lives and work. A special highlight will be Bali’s Governor Pastika discussing his former role as Chief of Police, and Bali’s position in the world today.
The series also includes two Booker Prize winners, Anne Enright (Ireland) and Thomas Keneally (Australia), as well as 2010 Booker nominee Christos Tsiolkas (Australia); multi-award-winning travel writer and historian William Dalrymple (UK); and former frontline journalist and BBC news editor Kate Adie (UK).
One of the most important and courageous contemporary voices in Chinese literature, Ma Jian (China/UK), will also feature, as will author and filmmaker Etgar Keret (Israel); grandfather of Indonesian letters and member of the Angkatan 45 group, Sitor Situmorang (Indonesia); and painter and author Rabih Alameddine (Lebanon/USA), whose new novel The Hakawati has been published in 15 countries.
Cate Kennedy was born in Louth, Lincolnshire, England and moved to Australia as a child. Graduating from the University of Canberra, she has taught at several colleges, including the University of Melbourne. She is the author of the novel The World Beneath, and the short story collection Dark Roots, both of which were shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. The World Beneath was also shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and won the NSW People’s Choice Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2010. Kennedy also wrote the travel memoir Sing and Don’t Cry: A Mexican Journal; and two collections of poetry, Signs of Other Fires – which won the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize in 2001 – and Joyflight in 2004. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, the Harvard Review, Best Australian Stories, and numerous literary magazines, while her non-fiction has been published in The Age, The Monthly, Best Australian Essays, and Overland magazine. Kennedy’s stories and essays are also occasionally broadcast on ABC Radio National. Cate Kennedy lives in rural Victoria in Australia, where as well as writing she works as an editor and community theatre director.
Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
Nine people, nine lives; each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. William Dalrymple’s first travel book in a decade explores how traditional forms of religious life in South Asia have been transformed in the region’s rapid change, with India torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and its ancient traditions that endure to this day.
Telex from Cuba
Rachel Kushner’s first novel is a work of great care and research, directed at recreating a place that history has erased from the map. Telex from Cuba is set in Oriente province during the six years prior to Castro’s overthrow of Batista. The expatriates and revolutionaries whom Kushner follows over the course of her story represent both this privileged class and those who made their lifestyle finally impossible.
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, this title is an international bestseller. In his controversial novel, Christos Tsiolkas presents an apparently harmless domestic incident as seen from eight very different perspectives, the reverberations calling into question the relationships between all those who witness it. The result is an unflinching interrogation of domestic life in the 21st century, a deeply thought-provoking novel about boundaries and their limits.
Dai Wei was shot in the head at the Tiananmen Square protest and left in a coma. Ten years later, as his friends bring news of their lives in an almost unrecognisable China, Dai Wei escapes into his memories, weaving together the events that took him from his harsh childhood to his time as a medical student at Beijing University. The result is an extraordinary insight into modern China.
The People’s Train
From one of the historical novel’s most expert practitioners, and author of Schindler’s Ark, Thomas Keneally brings to life a seismic episode in world history from an unusual, intimate perspective. Basing his story on a real figure, he captures what it was like moment by dramatic moment for the men and women caught up in the maelstrom, and explores the passions, ideals, and terrible compromises that fuelled it.
Notwithstanding: Stories from an English Village
A Frenchman once pointed out to Louis de Berni?res that Britain was the most exotic country in Europe, adding that it was ‘an immense lunatic asylum’. Casting his mind back to the village in southern Surrey where he grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, but plagued by a novelist’s inability to stick to the truth, in Notwithstanding Louis de Berni?res brings us stories of a vanished England, which will delight readers of his much-loved novels. De Berni?res’ characters roam through the book, appearing in each other’s stories and painting a picture of an entire community. Here we find the atmosphere of those times as it was in the countryside; about people who are worth remembering, whose lives are worth celebrating, and who would otherwise have been forgotten.
COFFEE TABLE BOOK
Bali Living – Innovative Tropical Design
From the author of the bestselling Bali Houses comes this inspirational look at Balinese modern architecture and design. Bali Living is a unique selection of private homes, rental properties, restaurant and wedding facilities, a sports complex, and villas. Traditional Balinese compound architecture is evident throughout, but most are contemporary structures that re-interpret old forms and materials in new and exciting ways. Glass and metal have replaced alang-alang and bamboo, but in some cases the old materials are referenced and used in new ways. The interiors are highlighted with a selection of furnishings, artworks, sculptures, paintings, and more from local designers and shops.