The Jakarta Post
Opening ceremony of the 2018 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) (Ubud Writers & Readers Festival/Wayan Martino)
Bali’s first online literature, food and culture festival, KEMBALI2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival, is slated to run from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8.
Founded by Ubud-based NGO Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, KEMBALI20 replaces the popular Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF), both of which have been canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement, KEMBALI20 is a free, donation-funded event featuring more than 70 sessions available in digital format – some prerecorded and others livestreamed – and limiting on the ground sessions to a local audience.
Among its guests of 100 storytellers and culinary figures are the author of Crazy Rich Asians trilogy Kevin Kwan, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, Indonesian writers Eka Kurniawan and Dee Lestari as well as chef Chris Salans and international food journalist James Oseland.
The festival will also host a culinary discussion with Fenny Dwivany, a significant figure for Indonesian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Known as the Banana Mama, Fenny and her team at The Banana Group researched the genetic diversity, diseases and ripening of bananas.
“Bringing together some of the world’s most powerful voices in a melting pot of artists, authors, activists, entrepreneurs, performers, chefs and culinary experts, KEMBALI20 is a platform for meaningful exchange and cross-cultural dialogue. A place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas and concerns, our festival transcends cultural and geographical borders to create a truly global community,” said KEMBALI20 founder and director Janet DeNeefe.
Regarding the on-the-ground programs, the organizers said they would comply with all the required health protocols, such as temperature checks and sanitizing stations, and would only proceed with the approval of the administration.
“We want to stimulate the island’s economy and tourism, since Bali is Indonesia’s hardest-hit region, but safety is and always will be our first priority,” added DeNeefe. (jes/kes)
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