The literary culture of Bali
At this year’s Ubud Writers’ Festival there were more international guests than Balinese in the audience and festival program. The Ubud Writers’ Festival was never set up to showcase Balinese writers and writing. If this happens it’s a bonus. It was set up to attract tourists back to the island after the 2002 Bali Bombings. Janet de Neefe says it’s achieved this goal and attracts the ‘thinking man’ to the island. The festival receives funding from HiVOS – a Dutch Philanthropic NGO – and they are supporting the development of the Indonesian program in the festival. There were 15 Indonesian writers at the festival this year and 5 of these were Balinese.
I was interested to find out what the Balinese writers and translators thought of the festival and its contribution to the island – to its tourism and to its literary life. This is the feature I made about this subject for the Book Show, ABC Radio National.
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