Internationally acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh speaking about his award-winning historical classic 'The Glass Palace' during a book-reading session in Jakarta on Monday (31/10). (Photo courtesy of the Indian Embassy)

Internationally Acclaimed Author Amitav Ghosh Discusses 'The Glass Palace'


NOVEMBER 01, 2016

Jakarta. Author Amitav Ghosh invited readers to dig deeper into his award-winning historical classic "The Glass Palace" during a book-reading session organized by the Indian Embassy and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture in Jakarta on Monday (31/10).

The book, which has also been translated into Bahasa Indonesia, narrates the rags-to-riches and coming-of-age story of a Burmese man named Rajkumar Raha. Set in the early 20th century, the story tackles relations between Burma and India during British colonial rule, as well as the impact colonialism has on countries, families and individuals.

Ghosh offered readers an opportunity to explore his perspective as he gave a detailed presentation about the characters, settings and inspiration behind his work. He was later joined by Indonesian authors and literary critics such as Nirwan Dewanto, Melanie Budianta and Leila S. Chudori in a panel discussion of "The Glass Palace." A question-and-answer session followed, allowing the audience to interact with Ghosh.

He was invited to Indonesia as part of the ministry's "Explore Indonesia Program for International Authors and Journalists." According to Hilmar Farid, director general at the Ministry of Education and Culture, the program's objective is to gauge the views and perceptions foreigners have of Indonesia.

Despite not portraying Indonesia in his works, Ghosh was considered a good choice because he often features Southeast Asia as the settings for his work.

Ghosh's work has gained prestigious global recognition. For example, "The Calcutta Chromosome" won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1997, while "The Glass Palace" won the Grand Prize for Fiction at the Frankfurt International E-Book Awards in 2001. "The Hungry Tide" also won the Hutch Crossword Book Prize in 2006.

In 2007, Ghosh was awarded the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy. In January of the same year, he was bestowed the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honors, by that country's president.

Ghosh plans to visit various cultural landmarks, such as the Al-Munawarroh Mosque in Ternate, the Ternate Sultanate and Tidore Island in North Maluku and Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi, as well as some traditional villages, during his visit to Indonesia.