Sun Yat-Sen University: Asia Pacific Writers and Translators 9th International Summit “Ideas & Realities: Creative Writing in Asia Today” Held at SYSU
When asked about what women are writing about in Indonesia, novelist Eliza Vitri Handayani reminded the audience that there are no limits on what women can write, and the challenge isn’t finding a subject to write about, but claiming space, fighting for equal opportunities, and getting wider audiences and appreciation not only from women readers.
Bersama Project (9/12/2016): Nyali Cewek
Every day, between now and December 10th, we will highlight women in Indonesia and across the globe who have used their virtuosity in music and art to express dissent with women’s place in a patriarchal world. We chose the hashtag #NyaliCewek for this campaign, which means “Girls’ Guts.” Here in Indonesia, the word “guts” is often used to praise a man’s masculinity or bravery, and the phrase “nyali cewek” is like calling a dude a coward. Well, that’s a big insult to girls! So, we’re reclaiming the phrase to show that anyone who dares to be brave and assert their strength has guts. For our 16 Days of Activism, we will celebrate women who exemplify guts and the strength born of every woman. Once we all see women as equally strong, no one will see us as potential victims. (Eliza is among the 16 women selected for their guts.)
Strange Horizons (5/12/2016): Review of Heat Flesh Trash
The fiction pieces run the gamut from straight-up mimesis, through allegory, and into the fully fantastical. Favorites from the more true-to-life end of the spectrum include Eliza Vitri Handayani’s “Higher” (Trash), which feels like an Indonesian Human Traffic in the way it juxtaposes hedonistic youth counterculture with the need to maintain a respectable façade for the out-group norms of the nine-to-five.
Asymptote blog (23/11/2016): They Cannot Be Pigeonholed
I decided to include writers with a strong, original approach to realist subjects—writers who are perhaps incredible storytellers or break new ground in terms of subject matter, like Eliza Vitri Handayani, Balli Kaur Jaswal, and Jing-Jing Lee.
Overland Literary Journal: Beyond Diversity as Representation
On the other side of the city, at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, Eliza Vitri Handayani, Shakira Hussein and Monique Toohey were on the Muslim Feminism panel. Perhaps because of its location, the people on the panel and the topics discussed, the audience that came was visibly more diverse than what one usually finds in Federation Square – younger and less white, more Muslim. The Melbourne Writers Festival took a risk this year in its attempts to diversify audiences, and ought to continue in future.
The epistolary nature of the novel is effective in part because it shows the illusion of intimacy fed by long distance communication. There are many fresh ideas in the novel, such as the boxes in which the lead characters keep precious photos and letters, especially those from their shared history.
The story of Rizky and Julita is the story of Indonesia in conflict with itself: the traditional, rule-respecting side and the independent side, yearning for political, artistic and personal freedoms. Theirs is a universal coming of age story, and a love story.
University of Sydney (8/9/2016): From Now On – Eliza Vitri Handayani in Conversation with Tiffany Tsao
Writers and literary translators Eliza Vitri Handayani and Tiffany Tsao discussed their latest books, the challenges of translating between Indonesian and English, and the future of Southeast Asian literature.
Eliza talks to AIYA about setbacks to freedom of expression in Indonesia, advice for writers wishing to confront sensitive topics, and promoting minority writers beyond their niches or boxes.
“It upsets me when I hear people say there was no such thing as Reformasi. … Yes, challenges still exist, but we have also gained the courage, the channels, and the possibilities to fight back. … Now I don’t feel so powerless anymore.”
“I’m a novelist who happens to be female and from Indonesia, and it’s important to me to tell stories about Indonesia, to see Indonesian people like myself represented well in literature, but that’s not the only thing that characterises my work. … It’s important to address the difficulties faced by writers who happen to be female or belong to a minority group in terms of getting published and recognised, but a way to do it is to promote our voices beyond such labels, niches, or boxes.”
ABC Radio National, Big Ideas (27/10/2016): Muslim Feminism
The intersection of feminism and Islamic identity. How compatible are the two? With Shakira Hussein, Eliza Vitri Handayani, and Monique Toohey. Moderated by Luthfiye Ali.
Joy 94.9 FM (5/9/2016): BROAD interviews writer Eliza Vitri Handayani
Why do we write? was the salient question put to the international writers at Writers Across Borders hosted by WrICE co-founder David Carlin on Friday night. For Eliza Vitri Handayani, who frequently writes about young people on the brink of change, writing is about facing your demons, dealing with trauma and telling painful stories from the past.
Digital Writers’ Festival 2016: Chain Letter Book Club
Eliza Vitri Handayani (WrICE 2016) grew up under the Suharto regime in Indonesia, when there was no freedom. On 21 May 1998, after tens of thousands of university students demanded his resignation, Suharto finally announced his resignation. “It meant more than a change of government; it meant that it’s okay to be yourself and that you can speak the truth,” Eliza said. This led Eliza to question what it means to be free, to break away from all things that constrain us. She explored this theme in her book From Now On Everything Will Be Different.
What makes a novel distinctly Indonesian? And have Indonesian writers had less freedom in the past year? Eliza Vitri Handayani and Maggie Tiojakin discuss Indonesian literature after the political upheaval of 1998 and the different types of censorship and regulation that determine what is written about.
Theater Royal Castlemaine: WrICE Writers Forum
Acclaimed writers from Australia, China, Indonesia and the Philippines will share their work and experiences, inspired by their immersion in new cultures through the Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE). This event will feature Fan Dai, Eliza Vitri Handayani, Michele Lee, Alice Pung, Maggie Tiojakin, Xu Xi and Larry Lacambra Ypil, plus emerging writers Mia Wotherspoon, Peter Clynes and Ara Sarafian.
At Muslim Feminism Panel Eliza Vitri Handayani and Shakira Hussein dissected the intersection of feminism and Muslim identity. The Official Launch of WrICE 2016 took place at RMIT Design Hub. International guest writers Alice Pung, Michele Lee, DAI Fan (China), Eliza Vitri Handayani and Maggie Tiojakin (Indonesia), Larry Ypil (Philippines) and more performed an intercultural collage of readings, which inspired much laughter and reflection. At Protest and Rebellion, held at ACMI, Eliza Vitri Handayani and artist Molly Crabapple discussed the power of art as a protest tool.
The Leader (22/08/2016): Fully Booked
A highly anticipated literary event drawing renowned authors. Hannah Kent, Yann Martel, Eliza Vitri Handayani
The Indonesian writer described herself as shy and awkward in person but on the page she is fierce, refusing to shy away from controversial topics… She was undaunted by the reactions of authorities — or on social media — to her views, saying it was important to be smart in your protests.
Feminist Writers Festival (21/07/2016): Feminist Writers Festival public events at Melbourne Writers Festival
This week we’re excited about the launch of the Melbourne Writers Festival program, as we announce the details of our co-curated FWF public events, which will be held on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August.
Melbourne Writers Festival 2016: Eliza Vitri Handayani to appear at the festival.
She will appear in these sessions: Muslim Feminism (27 Aug), Protest & Rebellion (2 Sep), and Writers Across Borders (2 Sep).
Booktalk Elshinta TV (4/8/2016): Tentang Buku-buku Feminis
Maesy Ang dari toko buku Post berbicara dengan Eliza Vitri Handayani dan Syarafina Vidhyadana tentang buku-buku feminis.
Eliza Vitri Handayani’s new short story “Someplace between Respect and Desire” will be read at this famous literary bar in New York City, along with the works of eight other writers from their literary magazine’s June issue.
From Now On Everything Will Be Different is not a love story, nor is it a book about Indonesia. Although Eliza Vitri Handayani’s first novel in English depicts an on-again, off-again relationship set against the fallout of Soeharto’s New Order, both elements seem tangential to a larger, more ambitious project. Call it the paradox of time, where the title is constantly at war with Handayani’s portraits of society and characters, which seem, in different ways, unable to move on; where all the action happens within a day, crosscut with flashbacks to various moments in the past. Call it the difficulty of art, where photographer Juli’s attempts to capture her world are always on the cusp of something monumental, but somehow fall short, are aborted. Call it the absurdity of life, where doctor Rizky and Juli enact a years-long game of waiting for Godot, trying again and again to meet, to be honest with each other, even as nothing really happens between them.
Far more politically dangerous is a novel that deals with ambiguity, complexity, and paradox than one which is baldly political, ideological, an activist in paper form. Rizky and Juli, even as they are well-rounded and compelling figures in their own right, also dramatise the artist’s struggle to capture a moment, a soul, the smell of the air, the human condition in all its dignity and ridiculousness.
Seruan ini adalah sebagai respon atas pemberangusan buku yang sedang marak terjadi. Ini adalah sebuah ironi, karena di satu sisi orang mengupayakan budaya baca, namun di sisi lain aktivitas literasi dikebiri. Sikap MIWF tegas, menentang upaya pemberangusan tersebut dengan mengeluarkan Seruan Makassar.
MIWF menampilkan penulis-penulis dari mancanegara seperti Australia, Jepang, Prancis, Jerman, dan beberapa dari kawasan Asia Tenggara; juga penulis-penulis Indonesia ternama seperti Joko Pinurbo, Aan Mansyur, Dewi Lestari, Eka Kurniawan, Eliza Vitri Handayani, termasuk penulis muda asal Makassar yang tengah naik daun, Faisal Oddang.
NT Writers Centre blog (09/05/2016): Wordstorm 2016 Day 3, by Christopher Raja
… After this there was a focus on new Indonesian literature featuring Eliza Vitri Handayani and Eka Kurniawan. … Eliza and Eka are interested in testing the limits of freedom and democracy, their work pushes against power structures and the apparatus of assimilation and hegemony. Eliza’s book launch was cancelled at last years Ubud Writers Festival because of censorship and this attracted world wide attention. So naturally Eliza asked a number of questions. How can we realise ourselves fully if society is oppressed by more powerful groups? Are we free to be who we choose to be? Maybe freedom is madness? …
Territory writers will learn from two renowned Indonesian authors at this year’s NT Writers’ Festival thanks to a $5000 Northern Territory Government Grant…. With Indonesia being our closest neighbour, it is fantastic that we are strengthening cultural ties and friendships with Indonesia through the arts scene. … Eka Kurniawan’s book Beauty Is A Wound is an amazing novel that takes in Indonesia’s varied history while also telling a family saga. Eliza Vitri Handayani is an emerging author whose novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different conveys the pressures faced by young people growing up in Indonesia today.
Rochford Street Review (02/05/2016): Edging Towards a Rendezvous: Mike Coppin Reviews From Now On Everything Will Be Different
From Now On Everything Will Be Different traces the relationship between two young spirits yearning to be free. … I couldn’t help feeling the tension and had to resist flipping to the end to see what happens. … The novel enters deeply inside the hearts and minds of its protagonists, and it explores moral issues more fearlessly than her compatriot writers usually do.
Jessy Ismoyo (01/05/2016): From Now On Everything Will Be Different
Buku ini adalah potret paling dekat dari kontemplasi-kontemplasi liar yang ada di kepala kita atau tertuang dalam percakapan warung kopi yang kemudian dikaji dan ditulis dengan apik oleh penulis. … Buku ini tidak hanya membuat hati saya berdesir, tapi juga membuat kepala saya tidak berhenti berkontemplasi. Kita diajak mengkaji lagi perspektif kita soal kehidupan kita sehari-hari, isu-isu yang begitu dekat dengan kita.
RMIT University (21/04/2016): Writers from Asia Pacific join residencies in China and Melbourne
WrICE is a program of reciprocal cultural exchange and cultural immersion focused on writers and writing initiated by the non/fictionLab at RMIT and generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. … The writers awarded WrICE fellowships in 2016 are Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji), Lawrence Lacambra Ypil (The Philippines), Dai Fan (China), Eliza Vitri Handayani (Indonesia) and Maggie Tiojakin (Indonesia).
Rappler.com: Being the Woman I Want to Be
I sincerely believe that girls and women should be free and safe to be true to themselves, and to explore their interests, rather than having to follow some arbitrary rules.
Magdalene (06/04/2016): Before We Were Attacked: My Experience at LadyFast
LadyFast is organized by Kolektif Betina, a gathering of women from various backgrounds who want to provide safe space for women to speak up, “as a first step to overcome discrimination,” its manifesto says. That night, at around 10 p.m., a crowd attacked the festival. The crowd pushed themselves into Survive!’s private space and caused destruction to the property. The police stood by watching.
Index on Censorship (24/3/2016): T-shirted Turmoil
Indonesian author Eliza Vitri Handayani staged her own T-shirt protest last year after her book launch was cancelled at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali. Festival organisers had come under pressure from local police. “I wanted to promote the book and also highlight what was going on, so I thought maybe I can wear my work,” she told Index. She said she’d do it again if she needed to.”What women wear in Indonesia is already subject to a lot of restrictions. Perhaps this is a way to kill two birds with one stone?”
Joy magazine (April 2016): “Makna Bebas, Ungkap Kebebasan Lewat Novel”
Saat menulis, saya katakan pada diri sendiri bahwa saya harus jujur, pintar, dan tidak takut.
The Jakarta Post (14/03/2016): From Now On Everything Will Be Different delves into freedom, identity
The 160-page book talks about freedom in various aspects, from freedom from a repressive regime to a person’s freedom to choose what he or she really wants to be. ‘The search for freedom is tightly linked with the search of identity, while identity itself is connected with the search for love,’ Handayani said. ‘[When writing], we must be smart and honest and, most importantly, never be afraid.’
Magdalene (29/02/2016): From Now On We’ll Be Free: Book Explores Freedom, Love and Identity
Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different is a study of relationship, freedom, and identity in post-Reformasi Indonesia. It shows the complex reality of a nation in transformation, and how it affects its characters’ internal landscape.
“…my characters were among those people who are often misunderstood and labelled as immoral. That is why I want them to convey their views directly, not through narrative but through letters. I also think that this represents the story of our generation. … My generation grew up restricted and repressed, which is why we should make the best of the Reformasi, this opportunity to break free, live our lives, love as we choose and work as we choose,” she said at the launch, where she wore a dress made of scrap papers from her book draft.
ANZ Lit Lovers Blog (13/01/2015): Review of From Now On Everything Will Be Different
It’s a really interesting book which brings to life what it’s really like to live in a country in transition from a military dictatorship to democracy. The characters are convincing, and their dilemmas engaging. I’d really like this book to be widely read by Australians: we tend to have a monochrome vision of Indonesia, and this story brings vivid colour instead.
Asymptote blog (28/12/2015): A Frazzled New Mother’s Year in Reading
Indonesian and Indonesia-related books, as always, made up a large portion of my reading list. … I rounded off the year with From Now On Everything Will Different by Eliza Vitri Handayani. And I think its starry-yet-sober-eyed vigor will stay with me well into 2016. ~Tiffany Tsao, Asymptote’s editor-at-large for Indonesia.
Adelaide Review (22/12/2015): Write and Wrong, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
Within the stifling humidity that built ahead of Bali’s overdue wet season, the 12th annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival was swollen with pregnant conversation. … Several thousand visitors gathered in the last days of October for the literary festival – much more a robust contemplation and discussion forum than a commercial book fair – and all were talking candidly about freedom of speech, because the ogre of censorship had reared its ugly head.
Nipa Magazine (03/12/2015): After the cancellation of her Ubud Writers Festival book launch, Eliza Vitri Handayani devised a peaceful protest
Reactions from festival goers and other artists were encouraging with Handayani giving out business cards explaining her T-shirt protest. She sold out of copies of her book that she’d carried around the festival in her backpack, and a friend in Vietnam reached out to say her protest has started conversations over there about unique ways to circumvent censorship.
Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung (04/11/2015): Nur nicht über die Massaker reden!
Auch die Präsentation des gerade auf Englisch erschienenen Romans „From Now On Everything Will Be Different“ von Eliza Vitri Handayani, die darin eine Liebesgeschichte am Ende der Diktatur Suhartos und in den Jahren der Reformära nach seinem Sturz 1998 erzählt, und die Podiumsdiskussion zu einem auf Bali wegen der befürchteten Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt umstrittenen Bauprojekt wurden von der Festivalleitung auf Druck der Behörden fallengelassen. Letztere Veranstaltung fand dann allerdings an einem anderen Ort auf Bali statt.
Alle Repressionen erfolgten auf unklarer Rechtsgrundlage, obwohl sich die größte Demokratie Südostasiens gern – und meist auch zu Recht – ihrer großen und lebendigen Presse- und Medienvielfalt rühmt. Eliza Vitri Handayani hatte nach der Streichung ihrer Buchpräsentation übrigens die schöne Idee, dennoch zum Festival zu fahren und sich jeden Tag in einem T-Shirt mit eigens aufgedrucktem neuen Auszug aus dem Roman fotografieren zu lassen. Die von ihr selbst mitgebrachten Exemplare des Werks sollen schnell ausverkauft gewesen sein.
Femina (15/11/2015): “Pilihan Weekend“
Kisah cinta antara Rizky dan Julita terasa sangat personal, terutama saat keduanya yang punya banyak kekasih saling berbagi rahasia terdalam dalam hidup mereka. Dikemas dengan latar belakang Indonesia yang bergerak menuju gerbang demokrasi, karakter keduanya dibangun secara pararel dengan tahapan reformasi negeri ini, saat para seniman bebas dari sensor dan lebih leluasa menyuarakan aspirasinya. Inilah kisah tentang perjalanan dua anak manusia mencari kebebasan, menjalani hidup dengan jujur dan menemukan belahan jiwa yang bersedia mencintai diri kita apa adanya.
The Indonesian author Eliza Vitri Handayani, who spoke from the floor about the pressures to self-censor and changes publishers made to her first book, wore a series of T-shirts featuring the text of her latest title, From Now On Everything Will Be Different, which was due to be launched at one of the cancelled sessions.
The Jakarta Post (01/11/2015): Writers Continue to Resist, Navigate Censors
The canceled sessions included discussions and book launchings on novels related to the 1960s upheaval, but Eliza says her novel is about today’s reformasi generation. “We want to explore what it means to be free,” she said.
“In accordance with the request of the local government and police that the organizers cancel events that could potentially cause controversy and do not comply with the permit of the festival as a cultural, arts and tourism promotion event, organizers decided to cancel the book launch,” Juniartha said.
Every day of the festival Handayani will wear a different T-shirt featuring text from pages of her novel. “I wanted to think of a creative way of circumventing the censorship,” she said. “It’s expressing your voice but also through your body and what you wear, which is a freedom that is also often restricted in Indonesia.”
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival national program manager I Wayan Juniarta said local authorities had advised the festival to drop any events related to 1965 or that contained sensitive issues. He said a decision was made to hold off on the launch because although it was a work of fiction it contained references to real places in Indonesia and sensitive issues.
Sydney Review of Books (06/11/2015): Rethinking Censorship in Indonesia
There was the fact that the censorship was oddly haphazard. One of the books whose launches were cancelled — Eliza Vitri Handayani’s From Now On Everything Will Be Different (book title irony not intended) — isn’t really about 1965 at all. There was the fact that the censorship made no real practical difference. Books dealing with the 1965 killings have been appearing for a while without any attempt to ban them.
Vagabond Press (November 2015): OsloFrankfurtBangkokUbudManillaMelbourneBeijingAlexandriaBrooklyn, NY–>
Over the last month, Eliza Vitri Handayani has been busy, launching her new novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different at Beijing Bookworm, alongside Hong Ying’s I Too Am Salammbo (translated by Mabel Lee), then onto launches and readings in Oslo, the Frankfurt Book Fair, Manila at the Asia-Pacific Writers and Translators conference where she was joined by future fellow vagabond Beth Yahp, and then to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival where her launch was one of the events caught up in the series of cancellations requested by local authorities.
Eliza Vitri Handayani has written a book about [young people] in the early reform period in 1998, entitled From Now On Everything Will Be Different. She talked about neither communism nor 1965 in the book. During the event Eliza walked around wearing a T-shirt depicting scenes from her novel, and handed out her name cards explaining the cancellation of her book launch.
Vagabond Press (28/10/2015): Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2015 Launch Cancellation and Peaceful Protest
After warnings from local police, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2015 has had to cancel the launch of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different. The festival organizers have kindly kept open an invitation for Eliza to attend the festival, which she has accepted. Each day she will wear a t-shirt with different extracts from her novel as a form of peaceful protest.
Griffith Asia Insights (03/11/2015): 8th international Asia Pacific Writers and Translators’ (APWT) Conference: ‘A Profoundly Important Organization’
For Eliza Vitri Handayani, an Indonesia writer and founder of an Indonesian literary translation initiative, APWT is indeed profoundly important. After reading her fiction at an earlier APWT forum in Bangkok she was approached by Australian poet based in Tokyo Michael Brennan about publishing her work in his new publishing venture, Vagabond Press, focused on Asian writing. Brennan, who is also an academic, has since published other APWT members he heard at the conferences, including Japanese writer Kyoko Yoshida. Handayani’s newly published novel, From Now On Everything Will Be Different, was launched during the conference.
Literature Across Frontiers (14/10/2015): Making Literature Travel Between Europe and Asia
LAF continues its partnership with Weltempfang, Centre for Politics, Literature and Translation, one of the Frakfurt Book Fair’s prime hubs for exchange of ideas. How does writing from other continents find its way to publishers in today’s competitive book industry and how do we interact with markets and literary scenes as remote as those of China, India or Indonesia? LAF talks to Eliza Vitri Handayani (Indonesia), InterSastra; David Lopez-del Amo (Spain/China), Sinicus; and Vinutha Mallya (India), Kaavi.
Most Australian readers of this novel will be ashamed to realise how little most of us know about Indonesia. … This novel is a compelling read: the plot is unpredictable and the writing full of energy.
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (17/09/2015): From Now On Everything Will Be Different will be launched on Saturday, 31 October, 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Elephant restaurant, introduced by Sofie Laguna, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2015.
Kloverknekten.no (25/09/2015): Storyteller and actor Torgrim Mellum Stene read an excerpt from From Now On Everything Will Be Different, translated into Norwegian by Lasse Tømte
Vagabond Press (September 2015): Release of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s first novel in English From Now On Everything Will Be Different
Leap Plus: New Asia Now
‘New Asia Now’, a selection of essays, fiction, poetry, memoir and reportage by some of Asia’s most exciting writers today, will be published in August 2015 by the Australian literary magazine Griffith Review, with a selection of the work also published in the Asia Literary Review. The authors who appear in these editions are, the editors believe, voices that matter.
Asian Books Blog (29/07/2015): Published Today New Asia Now
From the Griffith Review: The Asian century is in full swing, generating unprecedented economic and social power. In coming decades this will profoundly change the world, and the lives of all those living in the world’s most populous region. Griffith Review 49: New Asia Now showcases outstanding young writers from the countries at the centre of Asia’s ongoing transformation. They write about the people and places they know with passion, flair, and insight. All born after 1970, our contributors are cultural agenda setters at home who explore issues of identity and belonging in the new world that is unfolding. Griffith Review 49: New Asia Now, co-edited by Julianne Schultz and Jane Camens, takes a journey through the region’s diversity, featuring a new generation of literary stars who will shape the way we understand the complexities of culture, politics and modernisation.
Badan Bahasa (02/06/2014): Pengumuman Daftar Buku yang Direkomendasikan untuk Program Subsidi Penerjemahan Frankfurt Book Fair 2015
The Jakarta Post (10/03/2014): A Less Fantastic, More Realistic, Literary Style
The Jakarta Globe (12/02/2014): For Author Eliza, a Search for the Future