(Indonesia, 1948) is considered one of the most important Indonesian writers of today. His novels A Shooting Star at Dawn and The Dancer appeared in Dutch, German, English, Japanese and Chinese translation. The novels are part of the trilogy Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, about an 11-year old village girl who works as a dancer and prostitute and who, in the unruly days of the 1965 coup unwillingly became the mascot of the Communist Party. Tohari grew up in the Javanese village of Tinggarjaya. He developed his own vision on Indonesian Islam, thereby honouring and preserving local Indonesian traditions. Early 1970s he moved to Jakarta where he worked for the newspaper Harian Merdeka and the magazine Amanah. He was already writing short stories, poems and essays. After having lived in Jakarta for two decades he returned to his source of inspiration, the countryside. In 2009 Tohari founded the magazine Ancas (Vision) in his region of birth to promote the local language, Banyumasan. In addition, he runs an Islamic school, promotes Javan folk art and is an advisor for the Ministry of Culture.(WU 2013 GR)
Archive available for: Ahmad Tohari
After Soeharto's downfall Indonesia opened up to transparency and democracy. However, in reality corruption is rampant, while ethnic tensions remain. Writer Ahmad Tohari wrote about the love-hate relationship with his country. Adriaan van Dis made the documentary series Van Dis in Indonesië and as a correspondent in Jakarta Michel Maas is witness daily to Indonesia's fitful growing pains. A discussion about the challenge for the future of the island-empire, with the use of fragments from Van Dis' documentary. In English.
The participation of Andrea Hirata, announced in our brochure, has been cancelled.
Interviews with these writers from Kenya and Indonesia at the festival for the VPRO radio programme De Avonden Live. Visitors are allowed to peek freely and listen in. In English.
In countries like Indonesia and Turkey religion gets a hold over politics. Power is changing and so is the way people approach religion. Is religion in politics a doomed path? Or is secularism an overestimated political system, just as stifling as any other belief? Ece Temelkuran (Turkey) and Ahmad Tohari (Indonesia) on the influence of state-imposed ideals. With music by the Iranian master of percussion Mohammad Reza Mortazawi. In English.