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Laksmi Deneefe Suardana, appointed Festival Ambassador to Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Announces the Festival’s 20th Anniversary Main Programme Lineup – 18th – 22nd of October

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, the foundation responsible for organizing the renowned Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and the Ubud Food Festival, is delighted to announce the appointment of Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana as their official Ambassador.

Founded in 2003, with the subsequent launch of the first Ubud Writers & Readers Festival the year after, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing, the foundation has since expanded and diversified its projects, with the two festivals as its main activities. It has stayed consistent with its main mission to help Indonesia reach its full potential by tapping into its rich arts and culture.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

As an individual with a longstanding association with both festivals, her remarkable advocacy in literacy and Indonesian literature, her distinguished title as Puteri Indonesia 2022, and her passionate dedication to Indonesia’s culinary heritage, Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana epitomizes the embodiment of the Ambassadorial role.

Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati believes that Laksmi’s collaboration as Ambassador will be mutually beneficial. Her esteemed position in the literary and cultural community will help the foundation reach a wider audience, establish connections with potential sponsors, and enhance visibility for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and the Ubud Food Festival. Concurrently, Laksmi’s involvement will further strengthen her status as a notable advocate for women’s empowerment, education, and literacy.

In her capacity as Ambassador, Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana will be responsible for presenting the festivals to the public, partners, and friends of the foundation. She will effectively convey positive messages about Yayasan’s projects and raise awareness about the festivals’ impact on promoting literacy, cultural exchange, and culinary heritage.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

The official announcement of Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana’s appointment as Ambassador took place during a press conference on Friday, 18 August in Jakarta. Supported by a comprehensive social media campaign, this event will highlight the synergistic collaboration between the Foundation and Laksmi.

To further emphasize the significance of her role, a promotional video featuring Laksmi will be recorded and released via our social media handles. This video will provide insights into Laksmi’s commitment to promoting literature, culture, and culinary heritage in Indonesia.

Additionally, a gathering is being planned in Jakarta in August, where Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana’s role as Ambassador will be officially celebrated, and detailed discussions about the upcoming festivals will be conducted.

Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati expresses immense enthusiasm for Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana’s acceptance of the Ambassadorial role. They firmly believe that her involvement will amplify outreach efforts, inspire new fundraising activities, and solidify support from Festival enthusiasts and advocates.

“I can see no better person to be the Ambassador of the Yayasan than Laksmi,’ said Janet DeNeefe, Festival Director. ‘She has grown up with these events and she is passionate about literacy, literature, Indonesian food, and her cultural heritage.”

Laksmi stated, “I believe that arts and culture are our nation’s biggest assets. The festivals’ vision and mission align with mine, which is to build and strengthen our nation through education, particularly arts and literature activities; this is why I’m more than enthusiastic to support their cause.”

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

While announcing Laksmi’s ambassadorial role for the festival, the foundation also unveiled the main program lineup for its 20th-anniversary celebration, along with its regular 4-Day and 1-Day Festival Passes, which grant festival-goers access to the main program.

The main program itself features over 40 panel discussions involving the most prominent writers, thinkers, activists, academics, and journalists of our times, from Indonesia and beyond. International names include the fearless defender of the environment, Vandana Shiva; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist, Geraldine Brooks; Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo; 2022 International Booker Prize winner, Geetanjali Shree; 2022 Booker Prize winner, Shehan Karunatilaka; and Behrouz Boochani, journalist, human rights defender, writer, and film producer.

Meanwhile, exciting Indonesian voices include senior journalists and writers Goenawan Mohamad and Leila S. Chudori, playwright Putu Wijaya, cultural icon Sujiwo Tedjo, and many more.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

It turns out the Festival holds a special place in the hearts of some Indonesian writers who have been involved with the festival for a long time. One of them is Leila S. Chudori, who won the 2020 SEA Writes Award for the English translation of her novel The Speaks His Name. She wrote a fragment of that novel in Ubud while participating in the Festival and launched the Indonesian version of that novel in the 2017 festival.

“After 20 years, I’ve always considered the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival as a home for writers and readers, to create, to share, to learn, while engaging in discussions with each other. A fragment of my novel was written there… a few years later, the same novel was also launched at the 2017 Festival, as one of the materials to be discussed. I hope the UWRF will continue to be a home for the global book community, providing a safe yet passionate space for all. Happy rebirth, UWRF!” Leila said.

Tickets: https://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/tickets/

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