Ubud Writers and Readers Festival


At last! The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is calling for volunteers. Arguably the best gig for a Bali insider, the only rule is, show up and do your very best for the team, your reward bring a pass to the daily scheduled discussions and interviews. This is the place to see the world’s hottest writers, story tellers, literary insiders, activists, and even a few illustrators and filmmakers. A party atmosphere permeates the whole town, with afternoon book launches, free music at dusk, and poetry slams going late into the night.

This year it runs 23-27 October. Check the ubudwritersfestival.com site on 13 August when the full program is released. Find reasonably priced workshops with high caliber instructors, free exhibitions, satellite events and special tickets for literary lunches, cultural walks and tours, which book out quickly, so watch for that program or miss out. Online contact for volunteer applications: ubudwritersfestival.com/volunteer/.

Those who don’t volunteer can, at Bali Advertiser issue date, still nail a 4 day pass at early bird discount rates, expiring 2 August. At 170 authors and artists from over 30 countries, it can be fun to read up in advance. Some suggestions:
• Susan Orleans The Orchid Thief
• Follow the above by viewing Adaptation (Charlie Kaufman screenplay amusingly battles with Orleans’ book)
• Behrouz Boochani A Letter From Manus Island, and No Friend but the Mountains (He’s a Kurdish-Iranian activist caught in Australian political exile as a refugee; he’ll join us from PNG via WhatsApp)
• Jenny Zhang Sour Heart (Seven highly original stories, an award-winning book)
• Global strategist Parag Khanna How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance
• Noyuyo Rosa Tshuma House of Stone (important debut novel about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe)

Ubud Village Jazz Festival returns with an impressive international lineup. Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) 16-17 August. The promises of various venues and workshops are out at press time, so check social media for updates, ubudvillagejazzfestival.com.

Bale Banjar Culture Club at the Ayodya Resort in Nusa Dua continues, second Sunday each month, but at press time, there were no specifics for 11 August just yet. Free admission with a cash bar at 6 and lecture/presentation at 7. Always enormously enlightening, this is your chance to meet the cultural geniuses of Bali. Contact the hotel for info: 0361 771102.

Permaculture Skills Retreat at Kul Kul Farm. 5 days devoted to full immersion in this extraordinary, dynamic organic farm, with a real focus on health, growing, and reconnecting to the land. Wide array of workshops for the inspired gardener, with bamboo carpentry and weaving to home horticulture, fermentation & food preservation, composting and agroforestry and much more. Each day participants enjoy a farm-to-table family style feast, herbal teas and other treats. Swim in a spring-fed pool, receive a valuable one-on-one consultation with Orin and Maria, and set goals for the garden year ahead. Evening campfire, movie night, morning yoga and walks to the paddy. Starts Friday 20 Sept at 4 pm with a Balinese blessing and your own herbal kit of mosquito repellant, shampoo, healing salve, etc. Ends Wednesday 25 September at 6 pm. Essential to book ahead at kulkulfarmbali.com.

Buffalo races (makepung) continue in beautiful Jembrana regency through November. Consider getting out to these small villages on Saturdays and stay for the early morning Sunday races; consult dajuma.com for the government’s official schedule of competitions. Two each month.

Bali International Kite Festival on Padang Galak beach just northeast along the coast from Sanur. 15-18 August. Easiest, no-hassle festival you’ll ever enjoy, as you lie back on your beach towel and look up at the entries. Photo ops galore. Sanur Village Festival 21-25 August, offers all kinds of activities, culture, fun, music.

Paddyside accommodation and meeting facility Omah Apik in Pejeng, Gianyar, will celebrate Independence Day on 18 August from 6 pm to 10:30, with a special concert by bands Kayu Jati, Morefame, and Svara Samsara. Open jam session follows. Go to festivalmusikrumah.id on Instagram or festivalmusikrumah@gmail.com or omahapik.pejengbali on facebook to @omahapik.pejengbali.

The 13th Balinale is coming up 24 – 29 September. This is Bali’s most star-studded international film festival, with 60 countries represented in 350 films and a record number this year of submissions from Indonesia. Juries made up of industry professionals will award prizes in several categories, and even audience members get a vote. Its multinational industry-insider roundtable conference BalinaleX, themed The Story, the Business and the Location, is de rigeur for serious filmmakers in this area. Visit www.balinale.com as the date nears, for all venue and ticket info.

The second Bandung Art Month over in Java’s creative arts capitol looks absolutely amazing, with installations, performances and exhibitions, 15 August – 15 September. Powered by BDGConnex; sign up and subscribe at bdgconnex.net.

By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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