October brings with a number of festivals and celebrations across the world, but if there is one not to miss, it’s the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival that runs from 28 October to 1 November 2015 in Bali’s central highlands. Featuring a long list of international and local authors and artists, this showcase engages visitors in literary bliss through a number of intriguing events.
Come the end of October, Ubud, the capital of Bali’s cultural heartland, will be hosting the 12th annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. A coming together of both international and local authors, artists, historians and social commentators, this cultural celebration was begun in response to the island-rattling Bali bombings that took place in 2002. An environment for artists and enthusiasts alike, the Ubud Writers Festival has evolved over time into one of the premier literary festivals the world over, and last year checked in over 26,000 guests. Featuring a collective of thinkers and doers from over 25 countries, the event will last for a jam-packed five days of discussions, workshops, speeches, tours and performances from 28 October until 1 November 2015.
Kicking off with a traditional Balinese dance, this year’s festival – themed 17,000 Islands of Imagination –will feature a number of respected international figures such as reverend daughter of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu, North Korean escapee, author and human rights activist, Hyeonseo Lee, 2015 Miles Franklin Award-winner Sofie Laguna and a long list of others. But the highlight and focus shifts this year towards the crop of local figures of importance like Putu Oka Sukanta and Linda Christianity who have helped develop, contribute to, and curate the wealth of artistic endeavours coming out of the equatorial nation.
Each day of the festival will kick off around nine in the morning and will typically run a full day until five in the evening with a number of breaks along the way. Hosted at local venues NEKA, Indus Restaurant, Taman Baca, and Joglo @ Taman Baca (all roughly a 20-25-minute drive from The Chedi Tanah Gajah), the event seeks to not only enrich visitors’ minds, but also the businesses that call this lush leafy central Balinese town home. While a number of free events are available, authorised access is needed to get into the meat of this festival and can be purchased in the form of daily passes, or as a full four-day pass on the festival’s website.
An event not to be missed, the annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival has earned itself the critical acclaim of many from within the literary world, and continues to grow yearly in both size and scope. So if you happen to find yourself on the Island of the Gods anytime soon, be sure to visit the literary gods who are making their way to Ubud.
(Featured image: With a number of events that range in nature from speeches given by world-renowned authors and artists, to literature-centric workshops, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival offers attendees the opportunity to get a closer, hands-on look into the minds of some of the world’s literary giants. Environment Day hosted at Fivelements, Mambal – Photograph courtesy of Ulrike Reinhold via UWRF)