Indonesia 2015: An Appetizer Awaits in Frankfurt in 2014

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Indonesia Frankfurt

Indonesia, prior to its turn as Guest of Honor in 2015 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, is serving up a top roster of authors and thinkers to whet your appetite for next year.

By Claudia Kaiser

2015 is looming: not just because the Frankfurt Book Fair will be re-organized and reshaped, but also because Indonesia is going to be Guest of Honor, the first country from Southeast Asia to take on this great opportunity, and the country is making sure it will be noticed by staging an exceptional number of events at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014.

We’ve counted them: 28 events all together, focusing on the trade as well as on the culture and of course, the ever present politics – the biggest country in Southeast Asia has elected its president recently, and “Jokowi,” as he is fondly called by his fans, will be sworn in on October 20.

Trade-wise, the fair starts with “Look at Indonesia” on October 8 at 10:30 at the Indonesian stand – introducing all exhibitors and trade visitors present at the stand, with a networking reception to follow: a very good opportunity to see what is happening in the country and get first level contacts.

The publishers are preparing a vivid showcase for their (often very interesting) content. While the West hardly knows almost-Nobel-laureate, the late Pramoediya Ananta Toer, Indonesia is regarded a treasure chest by the rest of Southeast Asia because it is so very rich in interesting writers.

More events for the trade include a presentation on educational material, a discussion about digital publishing in Southeast Asia, focusing on Indonesia and Malaysia – with long-time experts Arief Hakim and Hary Candra. Another discussion is scheduled on the Publishing Perspectives stage (Hall 8.0 B170): “Educational publishing in Indonesia.” You’ll get insider information on how to access this market of nearly 250 million people.

Indonesia is bringing to Frankfurt some of its finest authors as an appetizer to 2015 Guest of Honor appearance, including the well-known poet, Afrizal Malna, presently on a residence in Germany, who will be staging one of his legendary poetry performances and talks. The very modern rising star, Dewi Lestari, will discuss films and new approaches to literature in Indonesia. Other authors include poet Toeti Heraty, as well as Rosa Dorothea Herliany, who has just published her first novel – after much poetry – about Papua.

Tranlsator and publisher of modern and classic Indonesian literature into English, John McGlynn, and professor of Indonesian literature, Berthold Damshäuser will showcase Indonesian literature and present, offering glimpses of things that most people surely don’t know about, i.e. that one of the finest and longest pieces of early literature , the I La Galigo (20 times longer than the Odyssey and part of the UNESCO memory of the world register, which was was published in what is now Indonesia.

As for politics: the “Weltempfang – Centre for Politics, literature and translation” hosts a discussion on Democratic transition in the Muslim world: Indonesia and Egypt. With the most liberal press and society in South East Asia, and the Arab world – this promises to be an exceptional event, and will attract a crowd.

Last not least a real appetizer is being served: Some of the most well known Indonesian chefs are coming to Frankfurt and will give a sample of this tasty and stunning cuisine.

Get ready!

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.