For Indonesia, to be the Guest of Honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair is to jump into the circle of visibility. Indonesia, especially its works of contemporary arts and literarture, is virtually out of sight in Germany and the rest of Europe.
Theoritically, it is impossible to overlook a country of 250 million people living in 17,000 islands.
But this is the paradox of our time. Distances shrink as the world being closely connected by the internet, but the map is continuously highlighted by the remote control of the high and the mighty.
LitRI Translation Grant
LitRI is a program intended to foster the translation of Indonesian literature and other works about Indonesian culture into foreign languages. Run by the National Book Committee of Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, LitRI provides financial assistance to foreign publishers who have purchased translation rights for works of Indonesian literature and other titles of literary quality (including fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and comic books).
Modern Indonesian literature—most precisely literature written in the Indonesian language—can be perceived as the consistent effort to free storytelling from the realm of the spoken word. This journey toward the peak of accomplishing a literary culture has been accomplished in stages. Yet there is irony within it. Modern Indonesian literature is an island of writing within a sea of oral tradition.
Indonesia’s transition to democracy started in 1998 after the fall of Suharto who ruled the country for 32 years. Not long after that, coincidentally, the global war on terrorism also started at about the same time as Indonesia struggles to consolidate its fledgling democracy. Being a country with a Muslim majority population and a new democracy at a time when the two are seen as being incompatible with each other has brought Indonesia into a new level of international attention.
A common nightmare scenario for most Jakartans: a rainy Friday night with seemingly endless traffic jams when all you want is just to get home from work.
Many usually just give up and choose to start home when the traffic dies down, or to stop by somewhere for dinner or to hang out with friends before deciding to go home.
During this scenario, 30-minute travel time can easily become 2-3 hours of horrendous traffic, if you are lucky.
One of the most interesting international reactions upon Joko Widodo’s victory as the president of Indonesia for 2014-2019 came from the world’s metalheads. Randy Blythe, the front man of Lamb of God –one of Joko Widodo’s favorite metal bands– enthusiastically congratulated and informed through his Instagram: “This is the world’s first heavy metal president, and might be the only one who is openly a metalhead”.
Clara Ng is a successful writer in both metropop and children’s literature genre. She is one of the faces of contemporary publishing in Indonesia. In this 2000 era when the metropop genre is popular in Indonesia, an independent urban woman who is very involved in the public field often emerged as an archetype character.
In the wake of Islamic resurgence and the growing democratic movements in North Africa and the Middle East, it is relevant to see Indonesia as a model of Muslim democracy. The country has shown a stable democratic government, civil liberties, and tremendous economic growth.
Indonesian author of "Man Tiger" Eka Kurniwan is among 13 selected authors to make the Man Booker Dozen, the longlist for the 2016 Man Booker International award.
"Man Tiger," translated by former features writer for the Jakarta Globe, Labodalih Sembiring, is now in the running for a shortlist of six finalists that will be announced on April 14. The winner will be announced on May 16.