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Jakarta Post

Makassar writers festival to open next week

  • Andreas D. Arditya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 23, 2013   /  04:17 pm
Makassar writers festival to open next week Indonesian legendary poet Sapardi Djoko Damono (left) at the writers festival two years ago. (Antara/Dewi Fajriani) (left) at the writers festival two years ago. (Antara/Dewi Fajriani)

Indonesian legendary poet Sapardi Djoko Damono (left) at the writers festival two years ago. (Antara/Dewi Fajriani)

The Makassar International Writers Festival (MIWF) is set to roll for a third time from June 25 to 29 at Fort Rotterdam in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

The festival, dubbed the largest literary festival in eastern Indonesia, boasts a total of 50 writers and performers in a total of 40 free events to be held each day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m..

MIWF theme this year is My City, My Literature, emphasizing the importance of support given by the city and its citizens in developing literary events and the appreciation of literature.

MIWF co-initiator Lily Yulianti Farid said there would be a number of highlights in the festival.

'€œThe first is Vessel for Stories project which aims at bringing together the collective memory of the relations between Makassar'€™s Bugis seamen and the people in Australia'€™s Northern Territory that has been going on for hundreds of years,'€ Lily told The Jakarta Post.

The project would take three years to complete and would present annual exhibitions each year.

'€œMIWF 2013 will host for the project launch. Next year, the artists will hold exhibition in Darwin and another one in Makassar in 2015,'€ Lily said.

Another featured project is the re-launching of the book The Birth of I La Galigo, a bilingual poetry book by Sapardi Djoko Damono translated by John McGlynn, based on the adapted text by Lontar Foundation as done by a Bugis literature researcher, the late Mohamad Salim.

'€œIt was printed in 2005, but in very exclusive form and quite expensive. Only 500 copies were issued then.

'€œThis year we want to reprint the book in more accessible form and price so that it could be appreciated by more literature lovers as well as the general public,'€ Lily said.

A number of renowned Indonesian writers will take part in the event, namely, novelist Dewi Lestari and poets Sapardi and Joko Pinurbo.

Sapardi, 73, is a living legend in literature known for his lyrical poems and acknowledged as the pioneer of lyrical poetry in Indonesia.

Dewi Lestari '€“ known by her pen name Dee '€“ is one of the icons of sastra wangi (fragrance literature), which is a batch of literary works penned by women of modern preoccupations surfacing after the turn of the last century. The writers represent a new awakening among women writers that question their own existence in the highly patriarchal society. They rebel against sexual oppressions, stigma and even political regimes.

Joko Pinurbo, or more affectionately known as Jokpin, is one of most celebrated poets in Indonesia. He began his literary work since the 70s and has won several literary awards.

Several writers from different countries will also attend MIWF: Kelly Lee Hickey, Anna Weekes and Luka Lesson (from Australia), Peter Zilahy (Hungary), Qaisra Shahraz (England), Paul Sochaweszki (US), Amir Muhammad (Malaysia) and Josephine Chia (Singapore).

Since its inaugural event in 2011, MIWF team has been working with writers and literary communities in Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi.

This year, the MIWF sponsors six local writers: Mario F. Lawi, Christian Dicky Senda, and Amanche Franck OE Ninu  (from East Nusa Tenggara),  Muhary Wahyu Nurba and Mariati Atkah (South Sulawesi), and Jamil Massa (Gorontalo).

MIWF 2013 events includes discussions, readings, writing workshops, writer tours, music shows, film screenings, poetry reading, as well as storytelling sessions for children.

Lily said that MIWF aimed at stimulating interest in reading and writing among residents of South Sulawesi, especially the provincial capital of Makassar, and create opportunities to celebrate literature, get inspiration and expand the cultural horizon.

Visit for more information about the event.

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