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First Speakers Announced For Bali’s Ubud Writers And Readers Festival

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Bali’s world-famous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival returns from 27-30th October 2022 for the first in-person event in two years. The festival organizers released a statement this week to confirm the first speakers who will be headlining the three-day event.

The festival sees artists, activists, performers, and writers all head to Bali’s cultural capital to share stories and explore ideas. The 2022 festival’s theme is ‘Uniting Humanity’. Translated into Javanese the theme is ‘Memayu Hayuning Bawana‘, an ancient Javanese philosophy that means the principles by which we care for, protect, and beautify our universe’, according to the festival website.

Programs run across venues throughout the three-day event, there is a combination of free events for the public to attend and ticketed events for those who want to access the more premium and exclusive events program. The ticketing scheme also helps provide the funds to support school classes attending events they would otherwise be unable to access.

The festival is known to be the biggest ‘festival of words’ in South East Asia. Part of the festival’s mission is to promote Ubud as an art and cultural destination. The bigger part of the festival’s mission is to showcase Indonesian writers on a global stage and to help budding Indonesian writers see and reach their potential through access to education and literature.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is inclusive and the lineup features some of Indonesia’s finest writing talent, as well as writers, activists, performers, and speakers who have made their name worldwide. Events are held at all kinds of venues, including cafes and community spaces.

The festival organizers were excited to announce the attendance of the Putu Oka Sukanta who is one of the country’s leading literary heroes. Sessions with Sukanta will include discussions of his trilogy of novels that are fictionalized memoirs of his life exploring politics and more.

Headline speakers also include Carla Power, who is a two-time Pulitzer Prize Finalist for general non-fiction. She will talk about deradicalization as a theme in her new book Home, Land, Security. According to the festival, the website Power takes a ‘groundbreaking look inside the controversial field of deradicalization, told through the stories of former militants and the people working to bring them back into society.’

Headline events are often focused on discussions with writers and authors on their specialist topics. Throughout the festival, there are also performances of poetry and spoken word, reading, and interactive workshops where budding writers can hone their craft with the support of the festival’s guests.

Bejan Matur, who is one of Turkey’s leading modern poets is booked to perform her poetry. Matur’s performance poetry is accompanied by music and her work explores mythology and mysticism. The organizers announced a rich and varied lineup this week, other key names include Nawaaz Amed, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Ahmad Fuadi, and Osman Yousefzada.

Festival organizers have also released the 2022 festival artwork. Building on the theme of Uniting Humanity, or ‘Memayu Hayuning Bawana’ the artwork has been created by Balinese artist Ni Luh Pangestu. The design is desired as an expression of the sentiment of connectivity through the medium of printmaking.

Printmaking is a traditional cultural art form still practiced in Bali today. Pangestu said ‘This work was created by combining the techniques of carving, manual coloring, and digital coloring…to create something useful, to create unity, to create harmony.”

The founder and director of the Ubud Writer and Readers Festival, Janet DeNeefe, has said that she and her team are delighted to welcome visitors back to the festival. She explained that intimate discussions through the festival platform allow speakers to ‘tell stories about themselves, their community, and their place in the universe, and how these stories connect us across cultures. We are thrilled to have the UWRF 2022 festival take place in-person, where we can engage on a deeper level”.

Early bird tickets are available on the festival website now and the full program of events will be announced nearer the time.

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