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VU in Bali: the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

Victoria University lecturer and writer Max Lane will be speaking in Bali at the opening tribute night of The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) 2012, as well as chairing its closing session.

International keynote speakers at the Festival will include Novel Peace Prize winner, former East Timor President, Jose Ramos Horta and journalist John Pilger. Program Director Jeni Curtin said, "This year we have writers from all parts of the globe. The Festival will be a world class literary event which encourages free dialogue and transcends race, creed and gender to celebrate the universal appeal of the story."

The theme of this year's UWRF – which runs from 3-7 October in the Bali village of Ubud – is This Earth of Mankind: Bumi Manusia, taken from the title of an epic bestselling book by one of Indonesia's greatest contemporary historical writers, Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This Earth of Mankind is the first book in Pramoedya's historical fiction series The Buru Quartet, first published in 1980 by Penguin Books .

Max Lane translated This Earth of Mankind from Indonesian into English and it is still in print 30 years after its first publication.

The story is set at the end of Dutch colonial rule and was written while Pramoedya was a political prisoner on the island of Buru in eastern Indonesia. Denied even the most rudimentary writing implements Pramoedya's prison life was one of deprivation and hardship.

As writer, translator and lecturer, Max Lane's primary focus over the past 40 years has been on and around Indonesia. His most recent books are Catastrophe in Indonesia (2008) and Unfinished nation: Indonesia before and after Suharto (2010).

Max will be speaking at a number of festival events  –  at the opening tribute night and the following day on Pramoedya Ananta Toer – and  at  other times  about 'forgotten worlds' and 'for the love of humanity'.

Max Lane said, "This year's festival is an ideal chance for promoting Pramoedya, Indonesian literature and an understanding the dynamic struggles of Indonesian politics. We are trying to build up this capacity also at Victoria University in Asian Studies. Indonesians from many universities are now studying at VU. Australian students doing units on Indonesia at VU will also, for sure, end up studying Pramoedya as well."

The Festival was first conceived by Janet De Neefe, co-founder of the Yayasan Mudra Swaru Saraswati  Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing.  This will be the ninth Festival.

Media contact:

Christine White,

Public Affairs Unit, Victoria University,

9919 4322; 0434 602884; media@vu.edu.au

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