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Jakarta Post

Women, youth and traditional cultures raise their voices

  • Tifa Asrianti


JAKARTA   /   Sun, December 27 2009   /  02:06 pm

The Reform Era that began in 1998 not only resulted in the changing face of government and society, but also swept in fresh air and fresh voices in literature. Most notably, the Indonesian literary world, long dominated by men, has been getting the woman's touch. It was writer Ayu Utami who started the so-called sastrawangi (fragrant literature) movement with her novel Saman, published in 1998, kicking off the 2000s trend. The novel, which won the Jakarta Art Council award that same year, explored sexuality from a woman's perspective. Ayu's novels were critically acclaimed not only in her home country, but also internationally. In 2000, she received the Prince Claus Award for Saman. Her 2008 novel Bilangan Fu (The Fu Number) won the Mastera (from the Southeast Asia Literature Board). Saman opened up the field, and other women writers eagerly took the baton and ran wi...