The first round of authors, artists and activists who will lead this year’s five-day Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) program of fiery discussions, literary lunches, and powerful performances from 25–29 October has been announced.

From Kalimantan to Canada, Riau to Lucknow, the first lineup reveal of 16 authors and artists is testament to Indonesia’s – and the Festival’s – famed cultural and artistic diversity.

The Festival is thrilled to welcome Scotland’s king of crime writing, Ian Rankin, alongside Canadian author Madeleine Thien, whose works on diasporic histories have received universal acclaim.

Wrenched from his origins and miraculously finding his way home, the story which inspired the film Lion will be shared by Saroo Brierley, while Malaysian socio-political author and activist Marina Mahathir will reveal how she’s inspired thousands to be unbound from the society they’re born into.

Leading the discussion on our environmental responsibilities to future generations is internationally-acclaimed climatologist and conservationist Tim Flannery, while Britain’s greatest authority on Chinese food, Fuchsia Dunlop, will stir the senses with her explorations in cultural preservation.

Through its strong focus on the Indonesian literary and artistic landscape, UWRF continues to be the most prominent platform for showcasing the nation’s emerging and established writers and artists. One of Indonesia’s most outspoken journalists Leila S. Chudori, and prolific author and social commentator Seno Gumira Ajidarma, lead the national lineup.

With his new narratives of modern love that resist global hatred, pop culture visionary and founder of MTV World, Nusrat Durrani, will also appear, alongside respected essayist, journalist and novelist Robert Dessaix, and award-winning memoirist Kate Holden.

Indonesia’s premier puppet theatre group, Papermoon, and dancer-choreographer Eko Supriyanto, have both garnered international attention for their imaginative transformations of Indonesian traditions. Performances by each will headline what promises to be the Festival’s most exhilarating arts program yet.

One of the most influential Balinese authors of her generation, Oka Rusmini also joins the lineup, alongside maverick filmmaker Erick Est, and prolific novelist and social entrepreneur Ahmad Fuadi. Faudi will also be part of the Festival’s Emerging Voices Program – a free, four-day event celebrating young writers, filmmakers and artists from across the archipelago, to be held alongside UWRF17.

After the Festival, Tim Flannery and Kate Holden will cast off for the Komodo Islands in the latest of the Festival’s literary cruises. The chance to sail the pristine seas of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Coral Triangle, snorkel in the most biodiverse marine ecosystem on the planet, and encounter Komodo dragons with Flannery and Holden is a once in a lifetime opportunity.


Early Bird tickets to UWRF17 are now on sale. Purchase your 4-Day Main Program Pass – with access to 72 panel sessions across the Festival’s three main venues – and save 20%. Early Bird tickets are available until the full lineup reveal and program launch on 16 August. ubudwritersfestival.com


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