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Jakarta Post

Hamsad Rangkuti: Long journey of a short-story master

  • Ary Hermawan

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 27 2008   /  12:01 pm

HAMSAD RANGKUTI: JP/Ary Hermawan There was no library in Kisaran, North Sumatra, where Hamsad Rangkuti, the recipient of the Southeast Asian Writers Award 2008, lived as a child. As he could not afford to buy newspapers, and so visited the local administration's office to read the Sunday editions of local newspapers that were put on the wall. There he read the works of journalists and authors, including great Russian and American authors like Anton Chekov, Maxim Gorky, Ernest Hemingway and O. Henry, who incited his interest in becoming a writer. Born in 1943, he was 16 when he wrote his first short story, Sebuah Nyanyian di Rambung Tua (A Song in an Old Rubber Tree). Hamsad said was an acute daydreamer. He used to make up stories in his mind long before he knew anything about literature. He could sit for hours in a tree and fantasize about everything h...