Talking Indonesia: promoting Indonesian culture through literature

Compared to other Asian countries, Indonesian literature is not well known internationally. But this finally seems to be changing: last year Indonesia was guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest trade fair for books, and the translations of Eka Kurniawan’s books Cantik Itu Luka (Beauty is a Wound) and Lelaki Harimau (Man Tiger) have seen him become a global literary star.

 

Why has Indonesian literature been overlooked for so long, and what has been the role of community initiatives in promoting Indonesian books? What kind of themes do contemporary Indonesian writers raise in their work, and why are these important?

 

In this edition of Talking Indonesia, I discuss these issues with Lily Yulianti Farid, founder and director of the Makassar International Writers Festival and author of the short story collection Family Room.

 

Talking Indonesia is a fortnightly podcast presenting extended interviews with experts on Indonesian politics, foreign policy, language, culture and more. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen to the entire Talking Indonesia podcast via Stitcher.

 

Photo by Flickr user Seika.