What a hectic month August ended up being: literary programs, book fairs and writers’ festivals galore! And there are more to come in September. First, there were all the wonderful performances and book launches that were held in conjunction with Indonesia’s 74th anniversary of independence on August 17. This was followed by the inaugural Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) which ran from August 21-24. There, Lontar hosted a talk show called LitChat to mark the publication of 14 new titles that Lontar published under its BTW (“by the way”) imprint. The lively discussion, which was moderated by editor Zen Hae, featured four of the authors in the series—Dea Anugrah, Heru Joni Putra, Ni Made Purnama Sari, and Ziggy Zezyaseoviennazabrizkie—and attracted a sizeable crowd. Lontar is especially thankful to BCA which provided the funding needed to produce this series of books.
At the same time as JILF, in the cultural city of Yogyakarta, another festival was going on—the “MocoSik,” books and music festival which featured numerous popular bands and authors. A popular event since it was first introduced in 2017, MocoSik (short for “reading” and “music” in Javanese) was initially conceived to motivate young people to read through music. Held at the Jogja Convention Center, the event attracted thousands of young people. There, Lontar was represented by John McGlynn, who appeared in a talk show with best-selling author, Okky Madasari.
In the first week of September the second LitBeat Festival will be held at the National Library of Indonesia. Organized by the National Book Committee of the Ministry of Education and Culture, this “literaction” festival serves as a forum for key players in the publishing industry to exchange views on where the industry stands and where it is headed. Like previous events, this year’s get-together will be attended by publishing companies and writers from around the world, including the French publishing house, Jentayu, with which Lontar worked to produce the first anthology of contemporary Indonesian literature in French translation. There, Lontar will again exhibit its books and other products.
Directly following LitBeat will be the Indonesian International Book Fair at the Jakarta Convention Center.
All in all, it’s a heady time for Indonesian books and it is our fervent hope that all these events will serve to boost literacy in Indonesia.