July 5, 2017


A not-for-profit organization with the mission of improving the lives of young Indonesians through literature and the arts, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati is pleased to announce the Emerging Voices program, a free, four-day event celebrating young writers, filmmakers and artists from across the archipelago.

Reborn from the Bali Emerging Writers Festival after a two-year hiatus, the Emerging Voices program will foster professional pathways for Indonesian students and young adults interested in literature and the arts. It will be conducted alongside the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival from 26-29 October.

Held at the Joglo at Taman Baca, the heart of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and conducted in Bahasa Indonesia, the Emerging Voices program will comprise a series of panels, discussions, workshops and performances spanning four key areas of the arts: writing, design, music and film.

The lineup and schedule, which will be announced alongside the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival’s main program in mid-August, will connect industry professionals and established artists, writers and performers with aspirational young creatives to develop their skills and confidence to pursue a career in the industry.

“Supporting young Indonesians to pursue a career in literature and the arts, and to take pride in Indonesian arts and culture, has been at the heart of the Yayasan Mudra Swari Sarawati for over 14 years,” said Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this program back under the banner of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and to be creating a space for aspiring authors, artists and performers to learn with successful professionals and cultural icons.

“Professional development opportunities for young creatives are still relatively scarce in Indonesia. Through Emerging Voices, we hope to instil confidence in participants and their families that, despite the challenges, a career in the arts is not only viable, but respectable. It’s something to be nourished and celebrated.”


Want to help an aspiring Indonesian writer tell their story to the world?

Alongside Emerging Voices, UWRF will continue to run our annual Indonesian Emerging Writers Program. Each year, we put the call out across the archipelago to emerging writers: send us your stories. After receiving hundreds of submissions, an independent curatorial board selects 15 aspiring novelists, poets and playwrights from across Indonesia’s bustling cities and remote islands. We have heard many stories of the efforts of young writers to send us their manuscripts, including crossing a crocodile-infested river to reach the local post office – a process that took an entire day.

Once selected, the Emerging Writers are then supported by the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati to fly to Bali – for many, it’s the first time they have left their village or home town – and launch the annual Anthology in front of Indonesian and international audiences at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. A bilingual publication, the Anthology also represents a huge opportunity for emerging writers to have their work translated into English, opening the door to international opportunities for the first time.

In an ongoing partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival, one of these writers is further selected to present at this dynamic showcase of Australia’s rising stars, and flown to Melbourne to take part in the program. Receiving over 900 submissions in 2017, the Emerging Writers Anthology Series has grown to become one of Indonesia’s most wide-reaching literary achievements, representing work from Aceh, Medan, Makassar, Palembang, Padang, Lampung, West Timor, Papua, Bali and Java.

In order to sustain our community-building philosophy, we’re inviting you to help us deliver this important program. Your contribution will assist with the translation and publication of the annual Anthology, as well as airfares, accommodation and honorarium for an emerging writer over the course of the Festival.

More importantly, it will create a life-changing opportunity for these young people to share, connect and be inspired at what has been named among the world’s top literary events. By supporting the Emerging Writers Patron Program, Indonesia’s brave, new voices, from all corners of the archipelago will continue to be heard; voices of young women, the marginalized and the poor. And right now in Indonesia, this is more important than ever before.

Our vision is to create meaningful and lasting connections that cross cultures and dissolve boundaries, paving the way for future collaborations and exciting opportunities through the universal language of literature.

Please refer to our website, www.ubudwritersfestival.com, for more details about how to get involved, how your donation will be used to support aspiring Indonesian writers, and how your contributions will be recognized.


Ubud Writers & Readers Festival runs from 25-29 October. Early Bird Tickets go on sale and the first lineup is announced in mid-July, with the full program announced in mid-August. www.ubudwritersfestival.com.


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