Carnival lights up Ubud

Ubud was a cacophony of sounds and words during Saturday's session of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, with a poetry slam, a street party and several discussions highlighting the fourth day of the festival.

The poetry slam session featured Omar Musa, an Australian hip-hop artist and spoken-word performer, who won the Australian National Poetry Slam.

The lively festival continued with a street party on Jl. Kajeng, which is deemed one of Ubud's most charming streets. During the party, people shared the community spirit and the local food in a carnival-type atmosphere of Barongs, monologues, poetry, comedy and music performances all along the street.

Saturday's festival saw some lively discussions between emerging local and international writers.

In a session themed "The Legacy of Rendra", Australian Max Lane - who translated some of W.S. Rendra's works including Perjuangan Suku Naga (The Struggle of the Naga Tribe) - said Rendra's works had yet to be influential in Indonesia.

He said it was because the education system in the country had not encouraged students to read local literature, including the great legacy of Rendra's poetry, writings and manuscripts.

Nepalese documentary filmmaker, journalist and novelist Sushma Joshi said her experience reporting on the Maoist conflict and the food and water scarcities in the country had inspired her post-modern Romeo and Juliet-like tale of love between a Maoist guerilla and an army soldier.

Vikas Swarup, an Indian diplomat in Japan, discussed the tension between his job and as the author of two novels Q&A - which was filmed as Slumdog Millionaire - and Six Suspects.

He defended the controversy the film had created with diplomatic grace, saying it had a positive message. "It symbolizes that it is not important where you come from, but where you are going."

Several workshops took place on the same day, including a session on batik painting by renowned batik artist Nyoman Suradnya.

During the full-day workshop, foreign participants learned one of the iconic art forms of Bali.

There was also the launch of Not a Muse, an anthology about 21st century woman, featuring more than 100 poets from 24 countries.

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will close tomorrow night at the Antonio Blanco Renaissance Museum and will feature performances by musicians and street performers.

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