The 16th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) Theme: Karma


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The 16th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) was successfully held on October 23-27 2019, in Ubud, Gianyar.

Starting from writers, artists, activists, directors, intellectuals from all over the world will compete in Ubud to share stories and understand who discuss this year’s theme, ‘Karma’.

From humble beginnings in 2004, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has evolved into one of the world’s most celebrated literary and artistic events – an annual pilgrimage for lovers of literature and conversation.

This year’s Festival, named one of the five best literary events for 2019 by The Telegraph UK, will explore the impacts of our personal and collective actions on our social and physical environments.

Bringing together some of the world’s most powerful voices in a melting pot of artists, authors, thinkers and performers, the Festival is a platform for meaningful exchange and cross-cultural dialogue. A place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas and concerns, the Festival transcends cultural and geographical borders

Across five days, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival delivers an extensive range of events – from fiery conversations to intimate literary lunches, gripping live performances and hands-on workshops. With 180+ speakers appearing in 150+ events across 20+ venues, the Festival transforms the artistic village of Ubud into a thriving creative hub for five days each year.

Ubud Writers Festival 2019 lineup: writers, artists and activists

Glimpsing at the first round of announced storytellers, this year once again promises to be a culturally and artistically diverse line-up with names including Chinese-American award-winning author Jenny Zhang; bestselling author Parag Khanna; Zimbabwean-American debut writer Novuyo Rosa Tshuma who addresses colonisation and decolonisation topics; one of Britain’s most popular food writers Yotam Ottolenghi, together with award-winning novelist Laksmi Pamuntjak from Indonesia who writes about food on the path to self-discovery; Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono will put the archipelago’s minorities and marginalised communities in the spotlight while visual artist and writer Lala Bohang experiments with invisible, forbidden and imaginary matters of Indonesian society; Susan Orlean who is the author of the bestsellers The Library Book and The Orchid Thief; and many others.

Like many of the Festival’s previous themes, this year’s is drawn from a Hindu philosophy, but this time it’s one that is known universally.

For Balinese Hindus, Karma Phala is the spiritual principle that each action has a consequence equal in force, and similar in form. “Karma Phala nak cicih” describes the belief, and cicih means certain and swift. Karmaphala gives optimism to every human being, even all who find life. In this teaching, all actions will bring results. Whatever we do, like the results we will receive.

The one who receives is what brings, and the effect to others. Karma Phala is a law that causes every action to bring about results. In the Hindu concept, acting consists of: doing through the mind, doing through the words, and doing through behavior, the three of them who will bring the results for those who do. If the action is good, definitely certain, and vice versa.

The conversations between literary luminaries, emerging writers, and leading journalists will ask whether we truly understand the consequences of our actions, and how we can best respond to the actions of others. They will delve into the heart of every gripping story: decision and consequence.

For its 16th year, the Festival worked with community visual artist Samuel Indratma, to create an artwork reflecting the theme

The festival which will be held for five days in a row will explore the interaction of the human person and the collective in the social environment. Interesting discussions brought by literary figures, scholars, to emerging writers will enliven the Festival. Festival visitors can learn to really consider the completion of their actions, and how they can best respond to the actions of others.

From weighty literary discussions and senior performances that should not be missed, Festival visitors will discuss the definite things of this year’s Festival, namely decisions and changes.

Along with the release of the 2019 theme, UWRF also launched its 16th year artwork, which was created by the community visual artist Samuel Indratma, one of the founders of the well-known public in Yogyakarta, Apotik Komik.

Regarding the process of making this Karma-themed artwork, Samuel Indratma said, “In addition to translating the spirit of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, I also try to translate what karma itself looks like. Do humans change their faces? Are humans changing their shape? This is why I chose the mask symbol. I imagine karma as a human cycle that continues to spin, then back again. ”

“Last year’s theme, Jagadhita: The World We Create, is a reminder that harmony with others must be one of the main goals of life,” continued Janet DeNeefe. “When the consequences of climate change cannot be ignored, and world leaders continue to avoid that responsibility, we will wonder what kind of karma will occur in 2019, and consider things that might happen when we cannot find out. the solution to deal with it. ”

“In this 16th year, UWRF will celebrate the theme of Karma with writers, artists and activists from all over Indonesia and the world who are well aware of the consequences of their actions. Through a cross-cultural perspective on the Hindu Karma principle, we will explore how each of us makes decisions today that can shape our future together, “concluded Janet DeNeefe.

When the consequences of climate change cannot be ignored, and world leaders continue to avoid these responsibilities, we will wonder what kind of karma will occur in 2019, and consider things that might happen when we cannot find a solution to deal with it.