Thank you to those who made our 10th annual gathering in Bali so special. This year we had over two hundred attendees from over twenty-three countries from around the world, including a large number of local participants.
Over three days between 22nd to the 24th of October, we had thirty panels, four workshops, readings, book launches, film screenings, social events and a few specialised panels on local Indonesian literature.
Our hosts from the Ganesha University of Education, Putu Nitiasih, and Sonia Piscyanti, as well as the Indonesian Board of Tourism, and the huge team of student volunteers, made everyone feel welcome and at home.
Thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ASEAN-Australia Council, we were able to include a diverse group of eleven Australian writers in our program in Bali. The Australia Council funding meant we were able to feature some of Australia’s top and emerging writers, and people in the creative industries, including writer, filmmaker, and comedian, Osamah Sami, Australian young novelist of the year, Rajith Savanandasa, short story writer and academic, Roanna Gonsalves, novelists Chris Raja, Peter Polites, and Brentley Frazer, as well as members from the publishing industry including Cate Blake from Penguin and Ian See from the University of Queensland Press.
Through the ASEAN-Australia Council funding we hosted three indigenous writers including Eugenia Flynn, Marie Munkara, and Hannah Donnelley who shared their stories and voices with the local indigenous writers and artists from Indonesia. Next year, on the Gold Coast Australia, we aim to reciprocate by hosting three indigenous writers from the ASEAN region in our event.
We were thrilled that the Australian Consul-General in Bali, Dr. Helena Studdert took the three-hour trip to Singaraja to be part of our opening ceremony, and to see the possibilities created by Australian funding.
Our engagement with local writers and students surpassed any other year. Thanks to the support of long time APWT supporter and founder of Lontar foundation in Jakarta, John McGlynn we were able to engage with some of the narratives of local Indonesian writers in a few specialized sessions, and had the honour of having one of Indonesia’ top writers, Leila Chudori as part of our event.
Local students from the Ganesha University of Education also had the opportunity to engage with a group of students from Melbourne’s RMIT. The students participated in workshops and inspired by each other’s cultures and stories, produced a number of works that they read out to audiences and peers as part of a feature panel. The students were so engaged and thrilled by this opportunity they are planning to provide opportunities and seek funding so that some of the Ganesha University Students can take part in our Gold Coast gathering next year.
This year, we planned our program in line with and in partnership with the famous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival one of the Top 5 literary festivals in the world. A number of APWT participants including Melissa Lucashenko, Nury Vittachi, Sanaz Fotouhi, Osamah Sami, Qaisra Shahraz and Sholeh Wolpe, were invited to be part of the UWRF program. We even had our very own panel ‘Sharing Stories with the World’ where Nury, Sanaz, Qaisra and Sonia discussed the importance of local stories and narratives in a larger context.
Next year, APWT will be held in Australia for the first time in seven years on the beautiful Gold Coast, the 2018 Commonwealth Games city. Our hosts from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University are promising a stellar program of events and activities. We do hope you can join us. Full details will be announced soon.