Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2016 will be held on October 26 – 30, 2016, celebrating the theme of Tat Tvam Asi, sanskrit for ‘I am you, you are me.’
Literally ‘We are one’ – Tat Tvam Asi was originally spoke of the relationship between the self and the supreme reality. However,
…the concept has evolved to become the beating heart of the community. It urges us to consider all humans as equal and identical, and that pain inflicted on others is pain ultimately inflicted on ourselves. This is a powerful ideology that can be seen as crucial to the collective identity of Indonesia – uniting people from incredibly diverse religious, ethnic, cultural and historical backgrounds to share common respect and understanding.
Under the concept of Tat Tvam Asi, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival expects to continue to plumb the fascinating depths of truth, humanity, empathy, and existence.
Quoted from their website, this is what its founder, Janet Denefee think about the theme.
“Tat Tvam Asi is a bold recognition that in our purest state, all humans are identical and equal kindred spirits,” explains Founder & Director of the UWRF, Janet DeNeefe. “If our souls are identical, then to hurt one another is to ultimately hurt ourselves.”
“This is a powerful ideology that underpins the collective identity of the Indonesian archipelago – uniting people from incredibly diverse religious, ethnic, cultural and historical backgrounds to share common respect and understanding,” she said.
The concept of Tat Tvam Asi has been prominent in literary and artistic expression for thousands of years, encapsulated as early as 150BC by Roman playwright Terrance, who mused, “If I am human, then nothing human is alien to me.”
It has since been explored in various forms, not just as a thematic undertone of creative expression but through the very power of the arts itself; to communicate and empathise with the most common of human needs and aspirations.
“Some of the world’s most powerful works of literature are those that connect us with people, places or things of which we know so little,” said DeNeefe. “The power of these works is that they enable us to understand the lives of others and recognise our common humanity.”
“Last year bringing together more than 165 authors from 25 countries across the globe, the Festival prides itself in being a global platform to celebrate big ideas and extraordinary stories. In many ways, the Festival has encompassed the concept of Tat Tvam Asi since it first began thirteen years ago.”
With “17,000 Islands of Imagination” as its main theme, the site cited that, with over 165 of the world’s leading writers, artists and thinkers taking part in 241 events across 50+ venues, and with audience attendance numbers at 30,620 people, 2015 was another landmark year for Ubud and the Festival.
It should be noted though that last year’s festival got not-so-flattering attentions from the government officials following its decision to open the discussion on what happened in 1965. As it turned out, the topic of G30S/PKI and its aftermath (in which allegedly 500 thousands to one million people were killed) is still considered taboo by the authorities. As the results, the festival had to erase a few sessions from its rundown and cancel some speakers to take the forum.
Well, the festival is a well-known international event at this point, twelve years after it’s first held. Many things can be expected from an event of this caliber whether you’re a writer, a publisher or simply a diehard fan of author that happens to be hosting an event in the festival. (However, the list of authors/panelists hasn’t been released yet. Stay tuned.) In the past, writers like Jeffrey Eugenides (author of The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex), Chang-Rae Lee (The Surrendered) and Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor, Zone One) attended.
The networking effects are enormous.
With so many panel sessions, literary lunches, hands-on workshops, poetry slams and of course, night parties, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2016 is something not to be missed, even if you’re just visiting for the food (they also offer food tours program).
It will be a literally, literal paradise.
However, if the number of attendees at last year festival can be taken into consideration, you can guess that booking an accommodation won’t be an easy feat this year.
That’s why it’s important to keep something in mind:
See you in Ubud!
Ps: If you’re a host, you can start list your villa with us to anticipate this upcoming event.