Kerumunan Terakhir

Sepotong kisah tentang kegagapan manusia di tengah zaman yang berubah cepat, yang tak memberi kesempatan setiap orang untuk diam dan mengenang, berhenti dan kembali ke belakang.

Dari satu kerumunan ke kerumunan lainnya, dalam kebisingan dan keasingan, generasi zaman ini berbondong-bondong meninggalkan masa lalu menuju masa depan.

Tapi di manakah masa depan itu?

*Kerumunan Terakhir, novel kelima Okky Madasari, terbit Mei 2016

Borderless books

Note: As our leaders just announced 10 ASEAN countries as one community in Kuala Lumpur last week while I was talking in the Philippine Literary Festival, here is my opinion published in The Jakarta Post

Borderless books

It’s very difficult — even I could say impossible — to find books from Philippine authors in Indonesia. The same is true when we try to find Indonesian novels in the Philippines, Singapore or Malaysia.

We are so close yet we are so far. We know much about writers and literary works from Europe and the United States, but we know nothing about writers and literary works in our region.

We, Indonesians, know nothing about Philippine literature, Singaporean authors, Malaysian writers, let alone those from Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

Our leaders just announced the integration of 10 ASEAN countries into one community. One of the biggest consequences is that there will be no borders anymore in business. Every country could sell their products to other countries within ASEAN, people from every countries can work in other ASEAN countries.

While the government thinks about business, industry and all economic aspects, books seem to be forgotten. Our government doesn’t realize yet that books are also an important commodity. More

From our world to people in the world

Note: The main questions from my sessions at the Philippine International Literary Festival 2015 are what does it take for a writer to explain her/himself and her/his works to an audience with different cultural backgrounds? How much responsibility to her/his country does the local writer have when writing for an international audience? Here are my thoughts.

I just got back from this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, where Indonesia was invited as the guest of honour. Indonesia is the first country in Southeast Asia who get this opportunity and for country like Indonesia this opportunity maybe would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

As a guest of honour, we were given a big space to display our books and to use it to promote them. Our government spent a lot of money for this event, more than USD 13 million. The money has been used for translating books, bringing writers and performers to Frankfurt, setting up venue and programs that can attract people to come. We received a lot of publications in many international media for this.

But the most important and relevant question for this kind of event is how many books bought by international publishers to be published in their countries? Not many!



“Courage is a luxurious thing and can’t be taken for granted, especially when we live in a country like Indonesia. And to fight against censorship, we should have such bravery and courage.”


Why Write

Note: I talked at the discussion on “Why Write” at UWRF 2015. Here are my thoughts.

For me writing is always personal and political at the same time.

I started to write novel just 5 years ago. My first novel was published in 2010 and until now I have written 4 novels.

I used to be a journalist for years, had been writing reportage, news, story based on fact, based on what people said, make sure that everything already passed the check and balance process. As a journalist I used to write stories that relates with public interest, trying to make my writing as a criticism to government, trying to make unknown problem get attention from many people, trying to make people who don’t know how to speak can be heard. At the time, I started to believe how words have big influence to people. It can make government change their decision, it can make people know there is something wrong with their society, their country.

And then one day I found that journalism doesn’t fit me anymore. More

ARD Documentary Program

I am honored to be featured on a documentary program by the biggest of german television channel, ARD. This documentary was also aired on Arte channel.

In this program, I am talking about my life as a writer, my house, my school project, Kampung Muara, and of course literature. The program was aired on October 18. You can also watch the program here:


The german translation of Pasung Jiwa, published by Sujet Verlag, 2015


The German translation of Pasung Jiwa, GEBUNDEN, is now available in Germany, published by Sujet Verlag.

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