– The 8th International Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

What does Bali mean to you? Perhaps Bali means warm and humid weather, beautiful food and beautiful people? It means all that but when you go to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF)  it’s also an opportunity to hear from some fantastic writers and meet like-minded book-lovers.

While undeniably Ubud has changed and developed over the years, it still offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the wonderful Balinese way of life and – during the Writers and Readers Festival – literary delights all in one place.

The Festival is an opportunity for Indonesian writers to meet and network with writers from other countries. It gives International authors, agents and publishers an opportunity to discover the many talented Indonesian writers.

“My intention now — pursuing this life of simplicity, possessing no rice fields — is to cultivate the land within,”Ida Pedanda Made Sidemen

This year I’m attending my very first Ubud Writers and Readers Festival and I’ll be tweeting through the event so you will be hearing a lot from me about all the excitement! It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list for a number of years and I’m thrilled to finally make it over there this year. I can’t imagine anything better than attending what has been described by Harpers Bazaar as one of the ‘ six of the best Literary Festivals’ in the beautiful surrounds of Ubud.

I’m also pleased to announce that I’ll also be on two of the panels:

The Power of E: Sue Jones will chair the event where Fiona Caulfield, Rebecca Starford and I discuss the future of publishing.

Community building, online, real time. Publishing for the new millennium: Trinity will chair while Kelly-lee Hickey, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Summa Durie and I talk about how to make new technology work for you.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is taking place 5-9 October 2011 and the full program is now available on their website. I think in the 8th year of the Festival we may get to enjoy the best one yet!

The Jakarta Post  had an article announcing 15 local writers from across the Indonesian archipelago, chosen during 2011 UWRF Board of Curators meeting in May.

Other writers I’m looking forward to seeing include Musician Paul Kelly who wrote a memoir of his songs How to Make Gravy and Janice Lee  (The Piano Teacher is on my ‘must-read’ list but so far I’ve been unable to obtain it in ebook form). I recently read about Aneesha Capur and her debut novel Stealing Karma. I’m watching my mailbox because any day now I’m hoping the copy I’ve ordered will arrive!

The very prolific and entertaining writer Alexander McCall Smith will be a guest there and the introductions to his books are so warm and conversational that I’m sure he will be wonderful to listen to.

One of my favourite writers will be there; Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She seems to have single-handedly created a new genre called ‘Koori chick-lit’ and in her own words from her Keynote Address at the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards:

“I want those who buy commercial women’s fiction to also engage with the stories of urban-Aboriginal women’s lives and our place in Australian society.”

Dr Anita Heiss

Another writer that I’m excited to hear is Dominican Republic author Junot Diaz  whose first novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won a multitude of awards including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

DBC Pierre ,winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2003 for Vernon God Little is one of the authors attending who I am hoping to hear – but there are SO many wonderful writers there this year! I’m trying to read as much before I go as possible but am starting to run out of time!

The full list of writers are available on their website. Read and book your ticket NOW! If you have any suggestions about what I MUST read after you look at the list of authors please let me know!

Have you started thinking about attending yet? You should! The UWRF has tickets available now on their website.

The theme of the festival this year is Nandurin Karang Awak – Cultivate the Land Within. The theme was inspired by a line in a long poem by Bali’s greatest Kawi-Wiku (poet-priest) Ida Pedanda Made Sidemen.

From the UWRF Website, Festival Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe explains:

”Developing the self is in many ways similar to cultivating rice fields: sowing the seeds of truths, cropping the stems of desires, and carefully reaping a bountiful harvest for the finest grain. This is fundamental philosophical concept in the spiritual landscape of Bali”.

“At a time when disputes over borders, sovereignty, resources, culture and economics are more acute than ever, we must remember that the greatest shared space in the world is in the mind and the heart. The 2011 Festival theme is devoted to redefining the boundaries of consciousness and connection with the vast, rich and mysterious territory within.”

If like me you wanted to know more about the late Balinese author and high priest Ida Pedanda Made Sidemen “The priest honored his books the way samurai warriors once honored their swords” this article from The Jakarta Post will be of interest.

UWRF recently lost their major sponsor and they have been trying to raise funds and you can donate  – go on! What a great cause. I’m just pleased to hear that this wonderful Festival is still going ahead.     An update on this is that they have recently received new sponsorship from ANZ – see here for details and great to hear!

I’m really looking forward to UWRF 2011 and will be tweeting and blogging about my experiences. Let me know if you’ll be there and hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet up!


If you are a writer who is preparing to take your work to publication, then you could stay on after the Festival and attend Editing in Paradise from 10-17 October 2011!  This self-editing masterclass will guide you to take your work to the next level.

One thought on “– The 8th International Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

  1. How fantastic that ANZ has stepped in to the slippers left flapping by Citibank. Such a great connection – the festival and ANZ which has such a commitment to strengthened networks in Asia and the Pacific on behalf of Australian banking and its (relatively safe and reliable) banking culture. No reflection on Citibank – just great to see an Australian bak taking on the sponsorship. I hope the Fesival goes really well. I’m really sorry I won’t be there. Maybe next year.

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