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Ubud Writers Festival: The Countdown Begins

It is that literary time of year again in Bali: the 2009 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on Wednesday October 7th.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival founder, Janet De Neefe.  Kabar asked festival founder/director Janet De Neefe what she’s particularly looking forward to this year: here she recommends her top 5 things to see at the festival.

“1. Wole Soyinka – a senior statesman of global literature and the first Black African to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Be inspired.

2. the annual poetry slam – this year we have some of the world’s best performance poets, so hang on to your hats. Features the winner of 2008 Australian National Poetry Slam, Omar Musa. Be entertained.

3. Literary Lunches – the most divine venues Ubud has to offer with a glittering cast of international and Indonesian speakers. ‘Dangerous Women’ will feature some of the strongest female literary stars of 2009 and Wole Soyinka with Hari Kunzru at the Four Seasons is guaranteed to knock your socks off! Be enthralled.

4. Tribute to WS Rendra – join us in celebrating the life, works and legacy of the ‘peacock’ of Indonesian literature. Be moved.

5. Out of the eighteen workshops available, I’d love to do the ‘Introduction to Screenwriting’ with UK screenwriter Asitha Ameresekere. He’s planning to show some scenes from films and distribute scripted scenes to show what happens in the transfer from page to screen.”

Each year throws up interesting authors that many attendees either haven’t heard of before or haven’t got around to reading yet. This year, Kabar asked the UWRF team which books you should read before the festival. Here are their top 10 suggestions:

1. Wole Soyinka’s ‘Poems from Prison’
2. Lloyd Jones’ ‘Mr Pip
3. Julia Leigh’s ‘Disquiet
4. Tom Cho‘s ‘Look Who’s Morphing’
5. Hari Kunzru’s ‘My Revolutions
6 Neel Murkherjee‘s ‘Past Continuous’
7. Vikas Swarup’s ‘Six Suspects‘, ‘Q&A
8. Seno Gumira Ajidarma‘s ‘Eyewitness’
9. Bejan Matur’s ‘In the Temple of a Patient God
10. Mohammad Hanif’s ‘A Case of Exploding Mangoes

For the full program and schedule of the 2009 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, visit

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