Laksmi Pamuntjak [ Indonesia ]

 

© Jacky Suharto

Guest 2016

Bibliography

Jakarta Good Food Guide, 2002

Ellipsis, 2005

The Anagram, 2007

Aruna dan Lidahnya, 2014

Alle Farben rot, 2015

Biography

Laksmi Pamuntjak was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1971, and wrote her first story at the age of six. She won her first literary prize at the age of eight. She helped establish the Aksara Bookstore and has been writing opinion articles for The Guardian for the past two years. She translated »Selected Poems« (2004) and »On God and Other Unfinished Things« (2004) by the Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad, and wrote the foreword to »Not a Muse: International Anthology of Women’s Poetry« (2008).

Pamuntjak’s own poems and short stories have been published in numerous international journals. She published a book on violence and Homer’s »Iliad« with the title »Perang, Langit dan Dua Perempuan« (2006; tr: War, Heaven and Two Women); a collection of short stories, »The Diary of R. S.: Musings on Art« (2006); two volumes of poetry, »Ellipsis« (2005) and »The Anagram« (2007); as well as four editions of a restaurant guide to Jakarta. In 2012 Pamuntjak represented her country at Poetry Parnassus, the United Kingdom’s biggest poetry festival, which took place in connection with the London Olympic Games. Pamuntjak’s first novel, »Amba« was published the same year, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Khatulistiwa Literary Award. The novel also won the LiBeraturpreis 2016. In a modern interpretation of the indonesian national epic, »Mahabharata« the lovers Amba and Bishma become separated during a riot which breaks out at a demonstration against the coup by General Suharto. Decades later, Amba seeks clues to her lost lover on the prison island of Buru, where he was believed to have been taken. She wants to answer the questions which have tortured her for years. Around this individual narrative, Pamuntjak unfolds the panorama of a young nation and its tumultuous 20th century history between the colonial period and independence, dictatorship and democracy. Literary critic Bambang Sugiharto not only described the novel as one of his country’s greatest – he said that its use of historical material, its depth and mastery of style made it world class literature. Author Dewi Lestari praised Laksmi Pamuntjak’s success in providing insights into history and lessons for life with her sprawling but deeply moving love story. Most recently Pamuntjak published »Aruna dan Lidahnya« (2014; tr: Aruna and Her Palate), a novel about an epidemiologist whose true passion is eating.