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Big Names Announced For This Internationally Acclaimed Festival In Bali

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The first headline speakers have been announced for the critically acclaimed Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2023.

The Literary Festival is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and organizers have raised the bar once again when it comes to the exceptional individuals who will be making an appearance.

Saraswati Temple in Ubud Bali.jpg

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is one of the worlds leading literary festivals. The event attracts some of the best writers, speakers, and thought leaders the world has to offer and provides an unparalleled platform for Indonesian literary talent to be seen and celebrated. 

The festival will be held in and around Bali’s arts and cultural capital Ubud from the 18th-22nd October 2023. Festival organizers have announced the first set of headline writers and speakers, and attendees are in for a real treat this year. 

The headline speakers include Vandana Shiva, Bernadine Evaristo, and Shehan Karunatilaka; if you don’t know their names, you’ll certainly have heard of their work. 

Shehan Karunatilaka is a Sri Lankan author who took the world by storm in 2022 with the release of his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, which won the highly esteemed Booker Prize. 

Vandana Shiva is one of the world’s most prominent thought leaders and activists in the environmental and social justice space.

Having authored more than twenty books on the subject of environmentalism, agriculture, and regenerative futures, Vandana Shiva has worked tirelessly for the rights of farmers, peasants, and women around the world. 

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Shehan Karunatilaka is not the only Booker Prize winner to be announced on the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival lineup this year.

Bernadine Evaristo, author of the international sensation and Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other, will be bringing her literary brilliance to the Island of the Gods.

Representatives from Indonesia include Sujiwo Tejo, Putu Wijaya and Intan Paramaditha. The event has always been conscious to be a platform for the promotion of the richness of Indonesian culture with a natural emphasis on honoring the unique heritage of Bali.

One of Indonesia’s most popular non-fiction authors, Dee Lestari, will be attending this year’s festival. She has won the Reader’s Choice Award for the Fiction category and the Favorite Writer award two years in a row at the Indonesian Readers’ Award.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is not only a celebration of literature but a festival of art, culture, and creativity of all kinds.

The event, of course, features interviews and workshops with the headline writers but also heaps of opportunities for attendees to explore their own creativity.

There will be poetry slams, panel discussions, writing workshops, and Q&A sessions with cultural leaders, artists, and inspiring individuals from all around the world who have powerful stories to share.

The 2023 event is shaping up to be yet another monumental success, and to think; this is only the first cohort of the lineup; more speakers, authors, and creatives will be annoyed in the coming weeks. 


As the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival celebrates its 20th year in 2023, the event will be embracing a new theme.

The concept behind this year’s event will be “Atita, Wartamana, Anagata: The Past, the Present, and the Future.”

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Festival founder and director Janet DeNeefe has shared her anticipation and delight as the first major updates about this year’s event were made.

DeNeefe shared, “It’s important that our 2023 program captures our journey over the past 20 years as a celebration of the literary arts and our ever-growing creative community.”

“It is also a time for the festival to reflect on what we have achieved and where we plan to see ourselves in the next 20 years.”

Young woman read paper book on outside veranda

Early bird tickets for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festivals are available to buy now via the festival website.

Organizers have also put out a call for festival volunteers, which is a great way for visitors to contribute to the success of the event and feel even more involved in the program.

The full program will be announced on Wednesday, 16th August, so be sure to follow Ubud Writers and Readers Festival on social media to stay up to date with the growing excitement.

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Friday 21st of July 2023

I hope the famous Google review replier Greg from the Melting Pot Saloon in Ubud will be there. He's an amazing commenter.


Tuesday 18th of July 2023

Interesting, but will not draw the average money spending tourists.

Wayan Bo

Monday 17th of July 2023

Salman Rushdie❗️❓