Monday, September 24, 2007

Bali Culture - Ubud Reader's & Writer's Festival

Over the last four years, the Ubud Reader’s and Writer’s festival has established itself as one of the richest events on Bali’s calendar. Multicultural in the broadest sense, it brings together more than 80 writers from 16 different countries, including performance poets, travellers, children’s authors, political activists, mystics, artists, correspondents, scientists, spiritualists, chefs and essayists each of whom has been generously gifted with the gab. Between 26 – 30 September, festival goers will be able to take part in a broad range of workshops, seminars, literary lunches, social gatherings and performances. The theme this year is ‘Sekala & Niskala’ – the realms of the Seen and Unseen whose interaction informs so much of life in Bali. And, indeed for all of us. Here’s a very brief snapshot of just a handful of the literary figures in attendance.

Kiran Desai
Winner of one of the most prestigious literary accolades in the world, the Man Booker Prize 2006, Kiran Desai is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, ‘Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard’ and ‘The Inheritance of Loss’. It is the latter novel, written over the course of seven years and published in August last year, that has catapulted her wholesale into the limelight. The Inheritance of Loss deals with colonial legacies and how they have lingered, morphed and manifested in the ‘globalised’ world of today. In her estimation, the airbrushed vision of multiculturalism masks countless impotencies, hybrid identities and sheer wrongdoings related to imperialist expansion.
Kiran Desai can be seen in conversation with author Shashi Tharoor for an intimate cocktail evening at the Amandari, Friday 28 September 1830 - 2030

Kathy Reichs
Kathy Reichs brings more than 30 years experience as a forensic anthropologist to her hugely popular mystery novels featuring the heroine Temerance Brennan – a forensic anthropologist whose lifestyle is not dissimilar from her creator. Her first novel, ‘Deja Dead’, won the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. She’s written eight more since then and has been translated into more than 30 languages. In 2005, Fox network started airing a show based on Reichs life, whose protagonist was named Temperance Brennan.
Kathy Reichs will host the final Literary Lunch, relating how her own life experiences have been channeled into her work. Sunday 30 September 1130 -1400 The Viceroy

Miles Merril
Originally hailing from Chicago, Miles Merril is a performance poet who uses everything at his personal disposal to bring his words to life – intonation, gesticulation, movement, props, humor and sheer on stage charisma. Accompanied only by a peripatetic saxophone, he spins darkly comic tales of night and passion, filled with rhythm and musicality. In his spare time, he works as a journalist, produces, directs, takes photographs and generally finds ways to unleash his creativity.
Miles Merril will conduct a slam poetry workshop for children aged 14-17, drawing on elements of hip hop, spoken word, physical theater and more – Sunday 30 September 1000 – 1400.

Somaya Ramadan & Iman Mersal
Somaya Ramadan has already published two successful collections of short stories and an award winning novel. As a translator and cultural/literary critic, she has put a great deal of energy into developing a history of women in the Arab world.
Iman Mersal started publishing poetry at sixteen and has four collections to her name. Currently holding an assistant professorship at University of Alberta, Canada, her work is deeply concerned with issues of diasporic identity.
Samaya Ramadan & Iman Mersal will host a literary lunch, reading from their works and evoking the spirit of the ‘Thousand Nights and One Night’. Friday 28 September 1130 – 1400, Chedi Club

Laksmi Pamuntjak
A renaissance woman if ever there was one, Laksmi Pamuntjak is a sometime classical pianist, entrepreneur (she’s behind Jakarta’s hugely influential Aksara media outlets) political columnist and most recently poet and novelist in both Indonesian and English. Her 2005 collection of short stories, Diary of R.S – Musings on Art, won the Herald UK Book of the Year prize, and she also published Perang, Langit dan Dua Perempuan (War, Heaven and Two Women) a treatise on violence and the Iliad in the same year. Her second poetry collection, The Anagram, came out in March 2007.

No comments: