Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ubud writers festival records major success

The ANZ-Ubud Writers and Readers Festival officially ended on Sunday evening, having received a record number of visitors.

The five-day long literary festivity ended with a free-of-charge musical performance honoring the 130 invited authors, hundreds of audience members and some 200 volunteers at the spacious Antonio Blanco Renaissance Museum near Sanggingan, Ubud.

Earlier in the evening, the festival launched its bilingual anthology "Nandurin Karang Awak" (Cultivate the Land Within), which features selected works by 17 Indonesian writers invited to the festival. The publication of the anthology of Indonesian writings was one of the core programs of the festival, which sought to promote Indonesian authors on the international stage.

Since 2008, the festival has published four anthologies. The festival's robust Indonesian program and anthology publication was partially funded by the Dutch funding agency Hivos.

"I am very happy because finally we have managed to organize this event and organize it in such a fine way," Mudra Swari Saraswati foundation chairman Ketut Suardana stated.

The foundation is the umbrella organization of the annual festival, which was first started in 2004 and has gradually evolved into the largest international literary gathering in the region.

Early this year, when one of the festival's biggest donors withdrew its support from the event, the festival's committee was concerned that they would not be able to organize the festival. The concern evaporated when ANZ stepped in and most of the festival's ticketed programs were subsequently sold out before the festival even started.

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