The Jakarta Post
The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was initiated in 2004 and has become one of the most anticipated events in Southeast Asia. (Shutterstock/AlexMaster)
The 2020 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which was scheduled to be held this October, has been postponed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival’s founder and director, Janet DeNeefe, said that postponing the high-profile literary event was not an easy decision. “It doesn’t just impact our foundation [Mudra Swari Saraswati] and the festival team, but also means a loss of revenue due to a lack of ticket sales and valuable partnerships,” DeNeefe said in a statement.
The annual festival, held in Ubud, Bali, prioritizes the health and safety of its audiences, speakers, staff and volunteers, according to the statement.
After spending months working around the clock to find a way to deliver #UWRF20 safely and according to schedule, we finally came to a hard decision to postpone this year’s Festival until further notice.— Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (@ubudwritersfest) July 17, 2020
Click the link below for more information 🙏https://t.co/74XwXZ7xJh
DeNeefe said the postponement would likely affect local communities in Ubud and Bali as a whole. The province has been hit hard by the outbreak as it heavily relies on tourism.
Both the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and the Ubud Food Festival are said to have generated “significant economic benefits” in various sectors, including transportation, hospitality, accommodation and retail. To support the future of the festivals, the Yayasan Patron Program is open to contributions from the public.
“We have created ways for you to be part of the Yayasan Patron Program, tailored to your preference. This way, you can help the foundation and these important events survive,” said DeNeefe.
The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was initiated in 2004 by nonprofit foundation Mudra Swari Saraswati and has become one of the most popular events in Southeast Asia. It aims to be a platform where Indonesian and international writers, speakers, artists and advocates gather for cross-cultural dialogue. Its past speakers include Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, British novelist Geoff Dyer, British-Pakistani playwright Hanif Kureishi, Indonesian poet Sapardi Djoko Damono and Indonesian author-journalist Laksmi Pamuntjak. (wir/wng)