The 2009 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is little more than a month away as it gathers momentum towards the presentation of a rich array of panel sessions, readings, book launches, literary lunches, nighttime gatherings and workshops.
This year's theme "Suka Duka: Compassion and Solidarity" will beckon some of the finest writers from 23 countries to discuss the themes of religion, identity, the legacy of colonial brutality and the postcolonial voice, human rights, race and identity, exile, gender, censorship, literary expression, families and love.
This year's festival will introduce an inaugural keynote address, sponsored by the Australia-Indonesia Institute, launching four days of panel sessions, debates, readings and in-conversations with the world's greatest exponents of their craft. Wole Soyinka, the first African to receive a Nobel Prize for literature, will discuss his lifetime of work and activism. Fatima Bhutto, an outspoken poet, journalist and novelist from Pakistan will speak on her country. The brilliant women poets of "Not A Muse," explore Lloyd Jones' heart-wrenching empathy in the Bougainville-set fable "Mr Pip." The unpredictable and eccentric Dany Laferriere will also be in Ubud together with Mohammed Hanif's bearing "A Case of Exploding Mangoes."
This year's festival will also pay special tribute to the Southeast Asian experience, 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.
From neighboring Australia, Julia Leigh, Tom Cho, Alison Lester, Sonya Hartnett, Michelle Cahill, Mungo McCallum and Antony Loewenstein are all slated to grace this year's event.
In what has become a tradition, writers will also be at play via a program packed full of performance, play readings, music and song, film, humor and food.
Reflective of the founder Janet de Neefe's deep passion for cooking, this year's rendition of "Master Chefs of Prose and Poetry" will showcase award-winning authors, poets and playwrights and their favorite recipes featuring 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.
[Ubud Writers and Readers Festival Website]
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