Indonesian Writers Return to Frankfurt Book Fair After Big Success Last Year

Laura Prinsloo, head of the National Book Committee, second from right, at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (29/09). (JG Photo/Sheany)

By : Sheany | on 1:50 PM September 30, 2016
Category : Life & Style, Arts & Culture, Featured

Jakarta. Eka Kurniawan and Seno Gumira Ajidarma will be among Indonesian writers who will head to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, an official announced in Jakarta on Thursday (29/09).

According to the head of the National Book Committee, Laura Prinsloo, Indonesia's turn as the guest of honor during last year's fair was widely lauded. Prinsloo said the design of the Indonesian pavilion at the fair earned a lot of praise, and most importantly, copyright sales for Indonesian books jumped from 40 titles in 2014 to hundreds of titles in 2016.

President of the fair, Jurgen Boss, invited Indonesia back for this year's event that will take place on Oct. 19-23.

"Frankfurt Book Fair is a great and strategic starting point to promote Indonesian literature to the world," Laura said.

Indonesia will have 300 books at the fair this year, including "Man Tiger" and "Beauty is a Wound" by Eka and "Saksi Mata" ("Eyewitness") by Seno. The Indonesian contingent is supported by the ministry of education and culture, the creative economy agency and the national book committee.

The ministry and the committee are also running LitRi, a program that aims to promote books by Indonesian authors in the global market.

"The government is supporting us through LitRi, a program intended to encourage translation of Indonesian literature and other works about Indonesian culture into foreign languages," she said. 

Writer and poet Goenawan Mohamad from the festival's steering committee said Indonesia's participation in Frankfurt last year has exposed many Indonesian writers to international spotlight. This led to more invitations to other international book fairs, such as the Bologna Children's Book Fair, London Book Fair and Beijing International Book Fair.

Goenawan said the positive reception from the fair's visitors and international media has been encouraging for everyone in the Indonesian literary scene.

"We will bring to [Frankfurt Book Fair] a contemporary, creative and pluralistic Indonesia — not just the exotic Indonesia," he said. 

Apart from literary works by Indonesian authors, the Indonesian pavilion at the fair this year will also feature culinary delights and a variety of artistic and cultural performances. Chef Bara Pattiradjawane will be introducing Indonesian soto (soup) in a program called "A Spoonful of Indonesian Warmth." 

Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the largest international book fairs in the world.

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