Mention Ubud and one of the first thing that comes to mind for many is its namesake Writers & Readers Festival, a yearly festival taking place in Bali that celebrates the joy of the written word. Each year, luminaries and enthusiasts from all around the world gather in this little hilly area on the Island of the Gods to share story-telling with the aim of promoting cross-cultural understanding and to promote greater international awareness of Indonesian literary cultures.
The festival has grown from humble beginnings, and the latest iteration of the event (coming up in October 2011) will feature over 50 events sporadically scattered all around the Ubud region. The theme of this year’s festival will be Nanduring Karang Awak, which roughly translates to “Cultivate the Land Within.” This theme is taken from a legendary local poem, which was written by Ida Pedanda, widely considered one of Bali’s greatest poet-priests.
One of the guest writers confirmed for the event is Junot Diaz, award-winning US-based author of “Drown” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Another international guest is Professor Tim Flannery, one of Australia’s leading thinkers and writers. Professor Flannery is an explorer and conservationist, and has written various books on the ecological histories of Australia and America.