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Bali Welcomes The Return Of Southeast Asia’s Biggest Literary Festival This Weekend

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The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is one of the cultural highlights of the year on the island. The festival will be held across Ubud from the 18th-22nd October.

Internationally acclaimed authors, poets, and thought leaders will be in attendance for what is set to be an incredible few days.

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The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is considered to be one of the most significant literary events in Asia.

Attracting thousands of people from all around the world, the event is not to be missed.

Full festival tickets are still available and one of the great things about the UWRF is that attendees can also buy single-day and even specific workshop and event tickets. Meaning it’s easy to completely customize the festival experience.

This year the festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the authors and speakers in the program make up one of the most impressive lineups to date.

The theme of the festival is “Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: The Past, the Present, and the Future.”

With humanity facing some of our biggest challenges in history, a time and space for dialogue and creativity is more necessary than ever. 

The festival is not only a showcase of writers, but storytellers of every kind. The festival will welcome artists, scholars, intellectuals, and compelling speakers to the stage to share their creative insights with the world.

The Ubud Writer and Readers Festival’s Founder and Director has shared her excitement for the events ahead. 

Janet DeNeefe, who is also the mind behind the Ubud Food Festival, told the media “Over the years, our Festival has cemented its reputation as a world-class event that continually presents award-winning, internationally recognized authors, thinkers, and activists, along with exciting new voices from the latest literary zeitgeist to intellectual commentary and current affairs.”

“This year is incredibly special as it’s our 20th Anniversary and our 2023 program will be no less exceptional.”

What makes Ubud Writers and Reader’s Festival so special is the lineup of Balinese, Indonesian, and international literary legends. This year’s program welcomes Pulitzer Prize and Brooker Prize winners and nominees. 

There is much excitement around the attendance of environmental defender Vandana Shiva and Booker Prize-winning Bernardine Evaristo.

Award-winning journalist and author Geraldine Brooks will also be in attendance, along with Australia’s Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb.

The literary history and culture in Indonesia is a world well worth diving into. While internationally sensational stories like Eat, Pray, Love may be the first books to spring to mind when we think about Bali, there is a wealth of written wonder to explore. 

Most of Indonesia’s most acclaimed novels and non-fiction books are available across the island in English at bookshops like Periplus.

On Friday 20th, Indonesia’s first Man Booker International nominee Eka Kurniawan, will unveil his latest novel to the world.

Kurniawan was nominated for the Man Booker Prize for the English translation of his phenomenal novel Man Tiger (Lelaki Harimau) which shot to global acclaim. 

Events will be held in English and in Bahasa Indonesia, and some will be accompanied by live music too. On Saturday 21st from 4 pm-6 pm, at Cantina Rooftop, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will host a magical Jazz Poetry evening.

Set before one of the most stunning vistas in central Ubud, overlooking Tjamphuan and Pura Gunung Leah, the party evening will be hosted by Vamba Sherrif, Chris Tse, Joanna Yang, Ghayath Almadhoun and Fred Leone.

This is a special event in the program and guests can buy individual tickets to attend. 

Book lovers in Bali this weekend have plenty of reasons to make the trip to Ubud, but anyone who fell in love with last year’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida will be in for a real treat.

Author Shehan Karunatilaka will be discussing the novel’s inception, scope, success, and how the story connects to the real-life conflicts still happening around the world today. 

The full program and ticket details can be found on the festival website, or through their social media channels. 

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