Bali's hillside Bohemia of Ubud is home to the inaugural Ubud Writers & Readers Festival from 11 to 17 October 2004. Long a home to artists and creative genius in search of a roost, Ubud has always been regarded as Bali's cultural heart and is famous for its performing arts such as dance and gamelan music, as well as outstanding production of visual and decorative arts: painting, basketry, woodcarving and other crafts.
The week-long festival, initiated by the Saraswati Foundation for the Arts, will offer keynote presentations, panel discussions, interviews, workshops, feasts, exhibitions, tours and culinary demonstrations as well as dazzling performances of dance and music.
To date, 60 writers and cultural workers from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the USA have registered to join the Festival. A further 25 writers and performers from Bali, Java, and other islands of Indonesia, such as Sulawesi and Sumatra, will attend pending funding.
A Number of Interesting Topics & Themes
The Festival will focus on several key themes: Through Darkness to Light, Indonesian and Western perceptions of Bali post 2002; Pressing Concerns, which will include discussions by and with Southeast Asian book and magazine publishers; From Page to Stage [Writers and performance]; The Long Way Home [Travel writing and identity]; Children of the God's [Children's and young people's literature]; with one day being devoted to lifestyle, coffee and tropical cuisine.
Highlight of the event will include: Keynote addresses by Goenawan Mohamad [Indonesia] and Amitav Ghosh [India/USA]; the attendance of prominent Australian media personality George Negus; a poetic drama using life-sized puppets from Singapore, composed by the poet Felix Cheong; a wayang kulit [puppet drama] in English, based on ancient Balinese literature, by one of Bali's famous dalang; and a new dramatic collaborative work by Darwin dramatist Sandra Thibodeaux and a Balinese writer. The Threads of Life Textile Arts Center of Ubud will also present a program of dance and music from the island of Sumba, together with a unique textiles exhibition.
There will also be cooking demonstrations and discussions by culinary and restaurant experts from Southeast Asia, and an East Coast Palm Sugar and Sea Salt Tour for writers, who will entertain each other with poetry and narrative readings over a café lunch.
Writers of and specialists in children's and young people's literature will attend from Australia, Bali, Jakarta, India, and Hong Kong. There will also be a well-developed program of activities for the local Ubud primary schools, with the aim of encouraging the love of reading and creative writing among Bali's younger generation.
VIP functions will include a Welcome Dinner in the Ubud Palace; a literary lunch; a cocktail party for the Press and publishers; and book launches and book signings. There will be a reception later in the week to present and honor the winners of the fourth Khatulistiwa Literary Award for the best Indonesian fiction for 2003 – 2004.
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