Viet Thanh Nguyen, André Aciman, Eva Bande to grace this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

File photo taken from the 2019 edition of UWRF. Photo: Vifick Bolang/Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
File photo taken from the 2019 edition of UWRF. Photo: Vifick Bolang/Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

Award-winning writers, from Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen to Call Me by Your Name author André Aciman, will be headlining this year’s edition of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), among a diverse range of fresh perspectives seeking to explore the chosen theme of self-reflection. 

The region’s biggest festival of words is scheduled to take place from Oct. 8 to 17 in 2021, taking up space both virtually and on-site in Ubud (with strict health protocols and social-distancing measures, organizers say). With Balinese-Hindu philosophy Mulat Sarira as its theme, the festival says that “self-reflection is more appropriate” now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In its 18th year, UWRF is featuring some real exciting names from the literary world and beyond, as shown by this week’s announcement of their first round of storytellers. 

Nguyen — whose novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction — and Aciman will be joined by Indian writer and recipient of India’s highest literary honor Jnanpith award Amitav Ghosh, Mexican-American poet Ada Limón, Australian journalist, broadcaster and author, Julia Baird, as well as acclaimed Indonesian writers Budi Darma and Felix K. Nesi.

That’s not even all, as Canadian cultural anthropologist Wade Davis, Indonesian human rights activist and Yap Thiam Hien Award recipient Eva Bande, and documentary photographer Joshua Irwandi will also be among the speakers. 

It might be especially exciting for those of us who have found the time to read more during quarantine — though festival goers might feel a little different due to the pandemic, these fresh, brilliant voices featured in UWRF 2021’s lineup are undoubtedly something to look forward to. 

Who are you most excited to hear from, Coconauts? Let us know in the comments or via social media!

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