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Lecture by Laksmi Pamuntjak | Writing Today’s Troubled World | Leiden Asia Year

May 22 @ 16:30 - 18:30

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Co-organized by the Leiden University Library and KITLV as part of the Leiden Asia Year
“This talk is an attempt to bring together literature, the politics of difference, political developments in Indonesia and at a wider global level, and the role of the novel in bridging the world. I will use recent examples in Indonesian and Southeast Asian literature that have ‘gone global’, as well as my three novels, particularly the novel I’m currently writing. A sequel of sorts to my first novel, Amba/The Question of Red, this novel attempts to present the multiple realities of both “East” and “West,” what it means to have to constantly navigate between different cultures; to be both “Indonesian” (Indonesia itself being an artificial construct, a 20th century modern political invention), and to be a global citizen; to look into the tension between art and activism, and to maintain one’s freedom and dignity in a world gone fascist. In the most intimate terms, it is a novel about mothers and daughters—a leitmotif in my body of work.”

Laksmi Pamuntjak is a bilingual Indonesian novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, and food critic. Amba/The Question of Red, her bestselling first novel, won Germany’s LiBeraturpreis in 2016 and was #1 on Germany’s Fall 2015 Weltempfäenger list of the best works of fiction translated into German from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world. The novel was also shortlisted for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2012, and appeared on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Top 8 list of the best books of the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Pamuntjak, who co-founded the Aksara Bookstore in Jakarta, was selected by an international panel headed by Sir Simon Armitage as the Indonesian representative for Poetry Parnassus at the 2012 London Olympics. In addition to being a jury member for the Amsterdam-based Prince Claus Award between 2009 and 2011, she is also the author of Indonesia’s first award-winning independent good food guide to Jakarta, known as The Jakarta Good Food Guide.

Pamuntjak’s latest book, There Are Tears In Things: Collected Poems and Prose (2001-2016) was published in November 2016. Her bestselling second novel, Aruna and Her Palate, will be published in the US in the Fall of 2017. She writes opinion articles for the Guardian and divides her time between Berlin and Jakarta.

The lecture will be followed by a Q & A.

Seats are limited. Please register if you wish to attend this event: ln.vl1490365110tik@v1490365110ltik1490365110



May 22
16:30 - 18:30
Event Category:


KITLV / Leiden University


Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Vossius Conferentiezaal
Witte Singel 27
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