2020 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival postponed ‘until further notice’

A panel featuring Bali’s art activists at the 2019 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Photo: Anggara Mahendra/UWRF
A panel featuring Bali’s art activists at the 2019 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Photo: Anggara Mahendra/UWRF

The 17th edition of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has been postponed “until further notice,” organizers announced today, citing health concerns amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The decision was not an easy one to make,” Janet DeNeefe, UWRF Founder and Director, said in a statement received by Coconuts. 

UWRF was initially scheduled to take place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 this year. 

DeNeefe also highlighted how the decision will impact the local communities in Ubud and across Bali, who had been looking forward to the economic boost from the annual event. 

Organizers say they’ve been working to find a way to deliver UWRF safely and according to schedule since the onset of the global coronavirus outbreak, but eventually came to the decision of postponing the festival this week, not unlike many events across the world that has been forced to either cancel or postpone as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. 

Indonesia has so far recorded 81,668 cases of the coronavirus. Bali, which accounts for 2,533 cases, places ninth in terms of caseload out of the country’s 34 provinces. 

UWRF, one of Southeast Asia’s most anticipated annual literary events, has been considered as the region’s biggest festival of words. For years, Bali’s beloved little jungle town of Ubud consistently hosted some of the world’s most notable and thought-provoking authors, journalists, artists, and activists, bringing along a plethora of ideas and creativity that makes the festival an exciting time of the year. 

Alas, this unprecedented time calls for unprecedented measures. We’ll just have to look forward to the time when the world is safe enough for festivals to run its course again.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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