Liminal's Top Picks for Ubud Writers & Readers Festival '19


For its 16th year as Southeast Asia’s leading literary event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has announced its full program and lineup of over 180 authors, journalists, artists and activists from 30 countries.

From Indonesia to Italy, Colombia to Cameroon, Thailand to Turkey, Portugal to Pakistan and dozens of countries in between, the five-day program of in-conversations, panel discussions, literary lunches, music and arts performances, writing workshops, art exhibitions, book launches and more will demonstrate why The Telegraph named UWRF one of the world’s five best literary festivals for 2019.

Here are our top picks for Uwrf19!


Asia Pacific Futures on the Page, Stage and Screen

In a 2019 Entertainment Weekly interview, Amy Tan reflected on the 30 years since her groundbreaking novel The Joy Luck Club was published, commenting on the remarkable difference in Asian representation in literature and film. This panel weighs in on what has changed regarding the reach of and desire for Asia Pacific literatures, and asks what the future might hold.

Featuring: Kadek Sonya Piscayanti, Sally Breen, Richard Oh, Melanie Mununggu-Williams


Parag Khanna: The Future is Asian

 Economic and strategic partnerships are burgeoning across Asia and the region is sharing governance and trade linkages like never before – the ‘Asian Century’ is much bigger than you might think. Get ready to see the world, and the future, from an Asian point of view as leading global strategist Parag Khanna brings his new book to the UWRF stage.

Featuring: Parag Khanna, Erin Cook

Throwing Out the Rule Book

It takes an adventurous writer to throw tried and tested structures out the window and play with the infinite possibilities of text – and an even more intrepid reader to go along for the ride. Meet the savvy scribes who are breaking all the rules of traditional literary architecture, and are getting away with it in fine style.

Featuring: H.M. Naqvi, Jamie Marina Lau, Lala Bohang, Sam Cooney

 The Role of the Arts in Cultural Diplomacy

“We’re fractured nations because we’re not reading or translating each other,” said Malaysian author Bernice Chauly during the UWRF17 panel on the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. Join our group of experts as they compare their experiences of cultural diplomacy, and invite us to consider how the arts can break down barriers and connect people across languages, cultures and politics.

Featuring: Yusi Avianto Pareanom, Michael Vatikiotis, Janet Steele, Ashwini Devare

Outside, Inside

Migrants are frequently represented as outsiders in literature, powerless and vulnerable. Our panel is rewriting tropes of migration in groundbreaking ways, granting agency to people on the move and as they settle and grow roots in new places. By reframing these stories of social exclusion, suddenly migrants are the new insiders.

Jenny Zhang, Raymond Antrobus, Lou Drofenik, Emiliano Monge, Norman Ince


The Unsung Heroes of Literature

Translators are the unsung heroes of literature. Transposing literal meaning never cuts it: translators are always reliant on context, making constant calls of judgement. It’s because of their overlooked efforts we readers can travel to places unknown. Our panel of translators and translated writers delve into the impact translation has had on how we see the world, and where we’d be without it.

Featuring: Aleko Shugladze, Sebastian Partogi, Gill Westaway, Omid Tofighian

Leah McIntosh