For four days starting from 25 – 29 October 2017 or roughly a month ago, Yayasan Saraswati has succesfully held its fourteenth edition of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) 2017 at Taman Baca Ubud. At that time, Mount Agung’s volcanic activity has been rising and threatened the activities happening on the island. Thankfully UWRF 2017 seemed to be undisturbed by this natural disaster and saw 25,000 attendees throughout the festival. Janet DeNeefe, the founder and director of UWRF 2017 stated that there was a decrease in ticket sale as much as 5%, however the overall feeling and ambience of the event was still at all time high. Besides, the festival also did a fund raising for those who are affected by Mount Agung’s seismic activity and managed to collect AUD$1,500. As the biggest literary event in Indonesia, the festival became the platform for the most celebrated writers and authors like poet Joko Pinurbo, female stand-up comedian Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, French-Indonesia animator Pierre Coffin and travel writer Trinity. For its Lifetime Achievement Awards, UWRF 2017 gave the honor to NH. Dini, a renown writer for her feminist point of view and activism.
With the theme “Origins”, the festival also touched some topics in social and politics sphere like the urgency for women empowerment and cultural reinforcement in Bali as pointed out by Balinese own authors, Oka Rusmini and Cokorda Sawitri. As ASEAN has reached its 50th anniversary, its union, function and relevance were also the subject of discussion led by Malaysian author, Bernice Chauly on Asia Pacific Writers and Translators (APWT). Not only social and politics, UWRF 2017 also explored the notion of art, environment, history, and culinary. Various programs that have been held throughout the event have satisfied its attendees and once again proved the event’s prominence on Indonesia’s literary scene. For more information and documentation of the post-events, head to UWRF’s official Instagram.
Photo by: Stenny Angga/UWRF 2017