The Jakarta Post
One of the sessions in the Writers' Series, 'Designing Women', featuring Feby Indirani (left), Devi Asmarani (center) and Dai Fan (right) in Central Jakarta on May 5. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
The annual Writers' Series held by The Jakarta Post Writing Center returns for the third time this weekend.
Running two days until May 6, the first day of the event, which was a mini conference, took place in the Upper Room, Annex Building, Central Jakarta. Meanwhile, the second day will host a premium workshop at the Post’s office in Palmerah, West Jakarta.
Japan-based writer, journalist Pallavi Aiyar during her speech at the Writers' Series event in Central Jakarta on may 5. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
This year’s theme, "The Story of Us", teaches participants how to choose good stories and which stories to spread.
Open to the public, the mini conference allowed participants to hold discussions with speakers from various backgrounds, including innovators, poets, writers, journalists, curators, educators and communication experts.
In "What's Up Stories", for instance, three speakers from different disciplines, the Post’s own senior editor, Endy Bayuni, Yale-NUS College Singapore writing program director Robin Hemley and Publicis One’s head of public relations, Eugene Laksono, discussed the evolution of storytelling.
In a different session, Japan-based writer and journalist Pallavi Aiyar presented her “100 Paper Cranes for India” project as a protest against brutality around the world.
Aiyar was in Hiroshima, Japan, when she heard the devastating news about a little girl in India who was kidnapped and raped by a group of men. She then decided to encourage people worldwide to fold paper cranes as a symbol.
Participants fold paper cranes in a provided space at the Writers' Series event in Central Jakarta on May 5. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
“Folding this craft is a motive of connection, beauty […] in the world that is increasingly ugly,” said Aiyar during her speech. “And each crane that we fold in some ways serves as an apology that this kind of brutality could happen on our watch.”
Among speakers on the first day were creative writing director of Sun Yat Sen University in China, Dai Fan, Filipino poet Lawrence Ypil, American writer Ben Loory and Singaporean writer Joshua Ip.
Meanwhile, the premium workshop is scheduled to be attended by renowned instructors, among them Ben Loory, author Xu Xi, Robin Hemley and Lawrence Ypil.
“In 'The Story of Us', we feel our audiences already know what kind of stories that they want to communicate,” said Maggie Tiojakin, managing director of the Post’s Writing Center, prior to the mini conference. “So, now can we create a more positive narrative about who we are and where our direction is as a community.”
Maggie also highlighted many unfortunate incidents that had occurred around the world. The event can be a way for people to gather and create new narratives for the future.
“The point is about how we can be a better listener,” Maggie said. “Sometimes people forget to listen to other people when they’re telling stories. […] To be a good storyteller, you have to be an excellent listener. It’s important to understand other people; how to find narrative that doesn’t hurt them and find the solution together.”
Senior photojournalist PJ Leo shares his knowledge during the 'Living Library' session at the Writers' Series event in Central Jakarta on May 5. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Furthermore, Maggie expected the event to spark dialogue among participants or with their families and friends outside the event.
“I hope the audiences will be blown away by what they see and hear,” Maggie said. “I don’t expect them to process everything directly, but they can absorb everything over the next week or month and see what happens.”
Registration remains open and can be done online to guarantee a seat, aside from attaining an on-the-spot ticket. (kes)
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