A small step of a longer journey

Okky Madasari at the launch of "The Years of the Voiceless", August 2013

When i wrote this novel 4 years ago, i did’t think it would be a start of my endless journey to become a novelist. That time i just wanted to write a novel – one novel of my own in my entire life, so i could say “I have a book that i write myself.”

But in the process, i found that writing novel is more than just proving i could make a book. Writing novel is not about myself. And writing novel is not a job nor duty so i can say “I finished. I have a book by myself already.” More

Women Find Their Voice In a Powerful Java Tale

By | July 26, 2013

Okky Madasari

Although author Okky Madasari won the prestigious Indonesian Khatulistiwa Literary Award for her novel “Maryam” last year, her name might not ring many bells beyond the country’s borders. Not yet, anyway.

With the translation of Okky’s novel “Entrok” (2010) into English by Hayat Indriyatno under the title “The Years of the Voiceless,” recently published by Gramedia, this gifted writer is poised to make an impact on the literary world abroad.

The story begins in the 1950s in Singget, a village in Central Java, where Marni and her mother make a living by helping vendors at a local market.

Marni dreams of being able to buy an “entrok” (Javanese for bra). Her desire to own this exquisite piece of clothing turns into utter determination to make something more out of her life than just scraping by.

Marni eventually becomes a wealthy woman, but is always regarded with a hint of suspicion and jealousy by the other people in her village.

Her daughter Rahayu grows up under different circumstances: she is able to attend school and plans to go to university. But with higher education comes different convictions: Rahayu is a firm believer in Islam, while the illiterate Marni still follows the “old way” of worshipping her ancestors, making her a sinner in her daughter’s eyes. More

The Years of The Voiceless

Marni is an illiterate Javanese woman who still practices ancestor worship. Through her offerings she finds her gods and puts forth her hopes. She knows nothing of the God brought in from that faraway land. Rahayu is Marni’s daughter, part of a new generation shaped by education and an easier life. She is a firm believer in God and in common sense. She stands against the ancestors, even against her own mother. To Marni, Rahayu is a soulless being. And to Rahayu, Marni is a sinner. Each lives according to her own creed, with nothing in common. Then come the sounds of the jackboots, constantly disrupting and destroying souls. They are the ones with the authority, the ones who play with power as they desire. They are the ones who can turn the skies and the fields red, and blood yellow, their guns ready to strike anywhere. Marni and Rahayu, these women from two generations who have never understood each other, finally find something in their lives that they agree on. Both are victims of those in power. Both fight against the guns.

*) this novel was first published in Bahasa Indonesia under the title “ENTROK”


Tale of Ahmadi Refugees Wins Literary Award

Jakarta Globe | December 01, 2012

A novel that tells the story of Ahmadis being thrown out of their homes and forced to move to refugee camps has won Indonesia’s major literary award.

“Maryam,” which was written by up-and-coming young writer Okky Madasari, was announced on Thursday evening to have won the prestigious Khatulistiwa Literary Award. More