Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Janet De Neefe: Festival Founder & Director, writes about the 2009 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

The 2009 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival program is gathering momentum, and a rich array of panel sessions, readings, book launches, literary lunches, nighttime gatherings and workshops are coming together at Legong-speed to create yet another magical event.

With our theme of Suka Duka: Compassion and Solidarity leading the way, some of the finest writers from 23 countries will converge to discuss the great themes of our time: religion, identity, the legacy of colonial brutality and the postcolonial voice, human rights, race and identity, exile, gender, censorship, literary expression, families and love.
Our inaugural keynote address, sponsored by the Australia-Indonesia Institute, will kick off 4 days of panel sessions, debates, readings and in-conversations with the world's greatest exponents of their craft.
Hear Wole Soyinka, the first African to receive a Nobel Prize for literature, discuss his lifetime of work and activism, meet Fatima Bhutto, the outspoken poet, journalist and novelist from Pakistan, be dazzled by the brilliant women poets of Not A Muse, explore Lloyd Jones' heart-wrenching empathy in the Bougainville-set fable, Mr Pip,(Jones pic right), discover the unpredictable and eccentric Dany Laferriere, and solve Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes.

Expand your horizons with our incredible group of African writers, from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt.We pay special tribute to the Southeast Asian experience, and are gathering emerging and established writers from the region including Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Ng Yi Sheng, Amir Muhammad, NH Dini, Thant Myint-U, Shamini Flint, Wena Poon, Woon Tai Ho, Lee Su Kim and Dede Oetomo.

Plus there is our usual stellar cast of Australians. This year we have the most diverse group we’ve ever seen including Julia Leigh, Tom Cho, Alison Lester, Sonya Hartnett (pic left), Michelle Cahill, Mungo McCallum and Antony Loewenstein.
And of course, in the great tradition of Ubud, writers will also be at play, with a program packed full of performance, playreadings, music and song, film, humour and, of course, food.
With many of our writers harbouring a deep passion for cooking, this year our Master Chefs of Prose and Poetry will showcase award-winning authors, poets and playwrights and their favourite recipes with dishes from Burma to Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka to Pakistan. Family secrets and stories will be shared or rather, revealed, on the edge of the rice-fields in a three-course global extravaganza.

And stay tuned for the release of our extensive workshop program - everything from screen, food, sport and travel writing, to poetry, memoir, editing and what to do when the dreaded block hits you.Program details, special events and workshop program will be released Monday 24 August.
Keep an eye on the website!

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