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Reading & Writing in Bali's Hill

Between Worlds: Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Bali, October 6 -11, 2005


The lush Balinese mountain village of Ubud - the artistic heartland of one of the world's richest and most hospitable cultures, will host the Ubud Writers & Readers Festivall October 6-11, 2005.

The Festival is produced under the auspices of the non-profit Saraswati Foundation for the Arts - a Bali-based organization devoted to literacy education and the cultivation of artistic and cultural collaboration between east and west.

Between World

The 2005 festival theme "Between Worlds" emerged from discussions at the inaugural 2004 event, where issues of cross-cultural identity, inter-faith experience, and global-local interface were repeatedly raised by authors juggling modern versus traditional ways, caught between religious or geographical borders or simply straddling two or more cultures.

Ubud Writers

This year's diverse and exciting program will bring together over 100 speakers: novelists, poets, cultural observers and journalists, along with filmmakers and photographers from all over the globe.

Poetry and prose readings by some of the world’s most renowned authors will be complemented by public discussions, debates on literary and political topics, long literary lunches, challenging workshops, informative panels, world-class theatre, astonishing traditional dance and cool jazz improvisations.

• Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient, will share the secrets of his magical prose and poetry in a discussion of his life and work.

• Amitav Ghosh, Indira Ghoswami and Chetan Bhagat will converse to the gentle chords of the Sarod in a session focusing on three generations of Indian writers.

• Australian-born Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Timor Leste’s First Lady, will discuss her best-selling memoir, A Woman of Independence, and life in the world's youngest nation. Together with husband, President Xanana Gusmao, Madame Sword-Gusmao will read excerpts from her book about their blossoming love and the President's romantic poetry.

• Award-winning Australian travel writer, Susan Kurosawa will discuss her new novel, Coronation Talkies, while partner Graeme Blundell - whose career has spanned many art worlds, including his iconic status as an actor, film producer and author of King: The Life and Comedy of Graham Kennedy will regale participants with tales from a life richly lived.

• Ayu Utami, who created a literary sensation in Indonesia with her novel, Saman, will launch the English translation of this acclaimed and controversial story touching on female sexuality and the struggle between personal faith and political action.

• Putu Oka Sukanta, an extraordinary mix of activist, writer, newspaper founder, acupuncturist and healer, will describe his latest work about the lives of prostitutes and his work with AIDS and drug abuse throughout Indonesia.

• Nury Vittachi, one of the stars of last year's festival and creator of the world's favorite Feng Shui detective, will return from Hong Kong armed with fresh humor to discuss The Da Vinci Code from a Feng Shui perspective.

These are just a few of the many talented guests that the festival will host.

Beyond Reading and Writing

Beyond writers, the festival will also host Nusantara Berkisah (the archipelago tells), a set of panels, live performance and film sessions on Indonesia's lively literature traditions, and the dynamic collaborations between artists, scholars and local communities that are keeping them alive.

Elizabeth D. Inandiak will share her passion for Serat Centhini - the masterwork of mystic poetry of the courts of 19th century Java, which she has translated into French and Indonesian, and perform excerpts from it with musician, Alex Dea.

Joining from South Sulawesi will be some of the keepers of Sureq Galigo - the Bugis epic that inspired the recent Robert Wilson theatre piece, I La Galigo - including Puang Matoa Saidi, head Bissu of Segeri, a "fifth gender" priest who embodies, more than most, the very essence of a being between worlds. They will offer insider views of the sacred text and its place in their hearts, and their pivotal roles in the Wilson production, followed by a sounding of the text.

In short, there's something for lovers of every style and genre of writing -from novels and poetry to zines, plays, film and song lyrics to teen lit. In sessions covering hot topics in publishing, translation, erotica, food and travel, activism, spirituality, indigenous cultures and languages and much more.

Beyond words, festival-goers will be treated to exquisite dances from Bali and West Papua, fine cuisine, an exhibition by two of the region's most courageous photojournalists, and, above all, the warmth and generosity of the people of Ubud.

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