Books / Book Reviews

Thirteen Must-Read Indonesian Authors


Indonesian Author Andrea Hirata

Prior to reading The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata, I don’t think I had come across – let alone read – a single book by an Indonesian author. And yet, having fallen in love with Andrea Hirata’s best-selling novel, I’m eager to explore as much of the country’s literary offerings as I can. And if you, too, want to add some Indonesian literature to your reading repertoire, here are thirteen must-read authors from the Emerald of the Equator.

Andrea Hirata 

Author of the best-selling Indonesian book of all time, The Rainbow Troops, Andrea Hirata’s debut novel  was adapted for a feature film, television series, and musical theatre.
Hirata has contributed significantly to the development of modern Indonesian literature.

Agustinus Wibowo

A prominent travel writer whose best-selling travel-memoir, Zero: When Journey Takes You Home, will soon be made into a film. Through his work he explores not only other cultures, but also what it means to be Indonesian today.

Clara Ng 

An award-winning author, known for both adult fiction and children’s literature. She has authored several novels and short story collections, twenty-one children’s books and several collections of fairy tales.

Dewi Lestari

“Dee”—as she is better known—is a bestselling novelist and short story writer whose six-volume Supernova series has been adapted into several hugely popular films. She is also a popular singer-songwriter.

Faisal Oddang 

A young and prolific author from Sulawesi who has published an award-winning novel and collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. He has also garnered several national literary prizes and participated in two international residency programmes in 2018.

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Intan Paramaditha

Novelist and academic whose literary work explores gender, sexuality, culture and politics. Her short story collection, Apple and Knife will be published in the UK by Harvill Secker later this year, as will her first novel, The Wandering, in 2020.

Laksmi Pamuntjak

Poet, novelist and short story writer, she is also known for her food writing. Her first novel, The Question of Red, has been published in several languages and her second novel, The Birdwoman’s Palate, was recently published by Amazon Crossing.

Leila S. Chudori

An award-winning novelist and journalist, she has also written for television and film. Her best-selling first novel, Home, has been translated into six languages and her second novel, The Sea Speaks His Name, has also won national and international praise.

Nirwan Dewanto 

Poet, essayist and esteemed cultural critic who has twice won Indonesia’s top literary award for poetry. He has participated in several international residency programmes and samples of his work will appear in the Spring edition of Stand, a UK literary journal.

Norman Erikson Pasaribu

An emerging voice in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His first collection of poetry, Sergius Seeks Bacchus, won a PEN Translates Award and will be published in the UK in March 2019 by Tilted Axis Press.

Reda Gaudiamo

A young adult short story writer who is also a nationally renowned singer, particularly of poems turned into songs. Her adult collection, Tentang Kital/About Us and chapter book for children, The Adventures of Na Willa, will be published in the UK by The Emma Press.

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Seno Gumira Ajidarma

A prolific author of non-fiction, short stories, essays, screenplays and reportage. He has won numerous literary awards both in Indonesia and abroad and is well known as a consistent advocate for free speech and freedom of expression.

Sheila Rooswitha Putri 

A comics artist well known for her blogs in which she references everyday life in Jakarta and the urban condition. Her unique style has garnered her invitation to numerous conventions and group exhibitions, both in Indonesia and abroad

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