Inaugural edition of Jakarta International Literary Festival to be held in late August

The organizing committee of Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) 2019 speaking in a press conference at City Hall on Monday, August 5. Photo: Jakarta International Literary Festival/Eva Tobing
The organizing committee of Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) 2019 speaking in a press conference at City Hall on Monday, August 5. Photo: Jakarta International Literary Festival/Eva Tobing

Calling all literary enthusiasts: there’s a new event to add to your agenda this month. The first ever Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) is coming to the capital and will be held on August 20-24 at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta.

JILF is being organized by the literary committee of the Jakarta Arts Council and, moving forward, the festival is planned to be held annually.

The main theme for the inaugural edition of JILF is Pagar meaning “fence”, to reflect the increasingly blurred boundaries we have between nations and cultures due to waves of globalization.

“Besides something that must be crossed, fences also function as protectors as well as separators between the wild world and the serenity of home. The fence concept is not always related to the crossing of geographical boundaries in literature, but it also implies the care and maintenance of the local literature scene,” the JILF organizing committee said in a press release yesterday, as picked up by Tirto.

JILF 2019’s festival director and curator Yusi Avianto Pareanom said the festival will put Jakarta on the map as one of the most important spots in the global literary scene.

The literature festival, supported by the Jakarta City Government and Indonesia’s Education Ministry, will involve more than 60 writers and literary figures from Indonesia and other countries. 

At a press conference yesterday, Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan said he fully supports cultural events such as JILF. 

“We fully support this event. What’s also important is having a healthy ecosystem that can facilitate the world-class figures who will attend [the festival], so we can grow together,” Anies said yesterday, as quoted by Tirto.

JILF will be opened with a keynote address by Palestinian writer Adania Shibli in which she will talk about the literary richness of Palestine as well as her own writings. During the five days of the festival, visitors can attend symposiums and discussions about various literary topics as well as other programs including reading nights, a book bazaar and more.

It’s great to hear that a literary festival of this magnitude will finally grace the capital, especially considering Indonesia’s generally low interest in reading. As some of you may recall, Indonesia ranked second-least literate nation in the world in a study conducted in 2016. Hopefully events like JILF will help change that.

 

Stay up-to-date with the coolest events in Jakarta here.


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