PROBABLY the biggest literary festival in South East Asia celebrates its tenth anniversary from today. The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will bring many international writers, poets, photographers, artists, journalists, and volunteers into one Balinese district. Exciting.
So many exhibits and programs to see across Ubud, and if I can get out of the forest I’ll see the The Voices of South East Asia program (11.30am-12.45pm at Left Bank), with interviews with South East Asian writers including Angelo V. Suarez, Bernice Chauly, Michael Vatikiotis, Ju Sarpay and Kris Karmila.
Never heard of them? Me either, though I bet they are brilliant. I won’t hide my ignorance; because it demonstrates my point. To my western readers (UK, Canada, American, Australian and New Zealand particularly, since you’re my largest readership), when is the last time you’ve read anything written by an author based in Asia. Big continent? Can’t possibly miss it on an Atlas?
One of the best collection of short stories I ever read was from a Singaporean writer. I’m a great admirer of her writing style, voice, and observation of family politics. I won’t name her because I don’t think she’ll be at this festival, I mention her mainly because I think I can learn a lot from overlooked voices from Asia.
So yeah, if I can sneak out of the forest on my own, I’ll go to The Voices of South East Asia program. Or I’ll check out the Liquid Art Photography Exhibit. I doubt I’ll get to go, because there will be an influx of tourists in the forest and all hands are needed on deck to entertain them. It’s one of the few duties the monkeys are charged with, actually. Keep the tourists coming in during the busy season. Our store Place You Can Buy Your Crap Back will get a lot of business, mwa ha ha.
But I’ve been to the festival before. Two years ago, actually, long before I became a monkey king. I performed in a poetry slam, sneaked into the VIP writers after party at the end of the festival, and went on one date (and only one) with a former French supermodel. So many great memories that I will probably share – instead of critiquing the current programs.
And so in the next post I will begin to tell you how I met a gorgeous woman at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival…