Your free what's on guide to the NT


The perfect escape for lovers of Literature

By Claire Eltringham

Considered the spiritual heartland of the Indonesian island of Bali, Ubud is located in the Gianyar region (in central Bali) and is a far cry from the bustling and congested tourist havens of Kuta and Legian Beaches. Every year, thousands of people flock to Ubud for a variety of reasons – juice fasting, spiritual awakening, yoga workshops, Balinese cooking classes – the list goes on… 

While the surrounding district is largely made up of rice padi fields saturated in an incandescent green, the creative community is equally as fertile as the land, with arts and crafts hot on the hit list for many an intrepid adventurer. 

All this is testimony to one thing – Ubud is one very special place. So it is not at all surprising that Ubud was chosen as the location for the annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – a renowned cultural and literary event in South East Asia. 

The Festival was first conceived of by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing. And what better way to heal than to hold an event that unites cultures, questions beliefs and stimulates conversation and connection? 

This year’s Festival theme is 17,000 Islands of Imagination and one can only imagine the type of fantastic program this theme would inspire. The theme is also that chosen by the Frankfurt Book Fair (to be held mid-October) for this year’s Guest of Honour Nation, Indonesia. The Festival has elected to present a united front in order to best showcase the rich literature and arts of the country to the world. 

The program boasts fiery panel discussions, literary lunches, hands-on master classes, poetry slams and soirees under the stars – stimulation of the mind, with a hint of Balinese luxury. But it’s the caliber of guest writers that really demonstrates the audacity of the programming committee. From bestselling Chinese-American memoirist Anchee Min through to Australian author of The Rosie Project Graeme Simison, to short-story writer and political journalist Seno Gumira Ajidarma and humanitarian and East Timor rights campaigner Galuh Wandita, there is no doubting this year’s Festival, and the discussions surrounding it, will be lively. 

With over 165 writers from more than 25 countries involved in over 235 events – and a setting steeped in history, tradition and sublime island beauty – the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is the perfect escape for lovers of literature.

WHEN Wed 28 Oct – Sun 1 Nov
AT Left Bank, Indus Restaurant and Neka Museum | Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud


Share this