Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Summit 2016

Eliza Vitri Handayani’s From Now On Everything Will Be Different is a taut and intense novel that depicts a moment in a society, and in two lives, when the hope that everything can be better is real, when it partly happens, a revolution experienced through the lens of a photographer, a young woman who, as author, offers us her own new writer’s voice. Handayani’s commitment as a writer is continuous with her work as a translator and also as an advocate for freedom of expression.

Someplace Between Respect and Desire

My confusion and alarm soon turned to fear. I felt with every cell on my skin my disadvantaged situation: I was the woman and he was the man, I was Asian and he was white, I was just another local girl and he was the dashing coveted foreigner, I was younger, less experienced, less beautiful, and I probably liked him much more than he liked me.

Puncak

Banyak orang menjelang Ramadan dengan memperbanyak salat dan doa. Lain dengan Ferdian, Risa, dkk. Mereka mempersiapkan diri dengan melampiaskan nafsu berpesta, mabuk, dan teler habis-habisan supaya kuat puasa hura-hura selama sebulan. Keseruan pesta mereka terusik ketika Lani – pacar Patar yang merupakan ‘cewek baik-baik’ dan memiliki ayah soerang polisi – memaksa ingin bergabung.

Makassar Launch, 18 May 2016

Tema mengupayakan keberanian untuk hidup sesuai pilihanmu, untuk merasa dirimu punya harga diri meskipun berbeda dengan mayoritas, dirimu layak dicintai biarpun orang-orang bilang dirimu rusak—apakah itu hanya masalah pribadi? Tidak, itu pun politis. Karena merasa memiliki harga diri memberdayakan kita. Kita jadi punya keberanian untuk mengangkat suara, untuk menceritakan kisah kita, untuk tidak lagi menerima diskriminasi atau penindasan.

NT Writers Festival: Wordstorm 2016

May 5-8 Eka Kurniawan and I attended Wordstorm, Northern Territories Writers Festival in Darwin, Australia. We talked about political change in Indonesia, female sexuality, freedom and its costs, and censorship.

Jakarta Launch, 24 February 2016

Celebrate the launch of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different, finally launched in Jakarta. With Kartika Jahja, Dinda Kanyadewi, Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, Jewel Topsfield, Olin Monteiro, and Vendy Methodos.

Us + Them

She eyed the sweaty strangers around them, tearing off pieces of flesh, crunching into crackers, red sauce dripping from their fingers. Every now and then a lone grain of rice or shred of onion would cling to the corner of their lips, like a lonely outcast or scapegoat, only to be obliterated with a swipe of their greasy hands.

Ubud Launch Cancelation and A 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.

Manila Launch, 23 October 2015

In the Age newspaper just last week this book was reviewed with the opening line: “most Australian readers of this novel will be ashamed to realise how little most of us know about Indonesia.” And the closing line: “This novel is a compelling read: the plot is unpredictable and the writing full of energy.” I agree wholeheartedly. It was a great read. It taught me so much as an Australian about one our nearest neighbours.