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Leila S. Chudori wins 2020 SEA Write Award with 'Laut Bercerita'

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, June 13, 2020  /  04:09 pm
Leila S. Chudori wins 2020 SEA Write Award with 'Laut Bercerita'

Journalist and author Leila S. Chudori (Leila S. Chudori/Faizal Amiru)

Journalist and author Leila S. Chudori has been announced the Indonesian winner of the 2020 Southeast Asian Writers Award or SEA Write Award for her novel Laut Bercerita (The Sea Speaks His Name).


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The annual literary award is given to writers of Southeast Asia. The types of works honored range from poetry and short stories to novels, plays, folklore and religious works.

First bestowed in 1979, the award aims to recognize the creativity of writers from ASEAN countries, create wider awareness and understanding of literary wealth in the region, honor and promote literary talent and bring together creative writers.

Its past winners from Indonesia include renowned names such as Sutardji Calzoum Bachri, Marianne Katopo, Budi Darma, W.S. Rendra, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Remy Sylado and Linda Christanty.

Read also: 'Coming home with Leila Chudori' podcast wants Indonesians to read more

Released in October 2017, Laut Bercerita tells the story of a student activist who was kidnapped and went missing in 1998, prior to the downfall of Soeharto, as well as the struggles faced by the families of kidnapped student activists.

In February, the English version of the book, translated by John McGlynn, was published by Penguin Random House SEA.

The book has also been adapted into a 30-minute short film of the same title. Directed by Pritagita Arianegara and written by Leila, the film features a cast of Reza Rahadian, Ayushita Nugraha, Dian Sastrowardoyo and Tio Pakusadewo. It premiered at the 2018 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali.

Leila has written three novels and several anthologies of short stories along with television and film scripts. Her second novel, Pulang (Home), has been translated into English, French, German, Dutch and Italian. (wng)

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