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INDONESIA - Arts and Literature

Joesoef Isak, journalist, publisher, political activist, fighter against injustice, passed away in his sleep at 1.30am 15 August, 2009 aged 81.

Family, colleagues and friends escorted him to Jeruk Purut cementery, Jakarta, after paying repect to him, each in their own way, at the family house in Duren Tiga, Jakarta. Goenawan Mohammed and Max Lane spoke briefly at the graveside. Family and friends scattered flowers an water on the grave. People prayed or meditated in his honour.

His wife, Asni, his sons and grandchildren living in Jakarta were all there, as were many other relatives, as well as activist and journalist comrades.

Farewell, Joesoef Isak, great friend, great Indonesian

With Joesoef Isak, publisher and Indonesian intellectual
New book launched honouring Joesoef Isak

Joesoef RIP 5.jpg
Joesof RIP 2.jpg

At Jeruk Perut Cemetery, Jakarta.

Joesoef RIP 1.jpg



Pertemuan LEKRA MANIKEBU di TUK hari ini.

Menganalisa, menilau dan bahkan berpolemik tentang kejadian-kejadian konflik di dunia sastera dan seni di masa lalu memang adalah pekerjaan yang wajar, dan bahkan mendesak, Berdamai - dalam arti berhenti larang-melarang dan sensor-mensensor - akan sangat berguna, meskipun tak mungkin polemik bisa berhenti atau diberhentikan (kecuali dengan sensor-mensensor),

Tetapi bagaimana melawan salah satu dampak negatif yang dahsyat daripada konflik dan sejarah sensor-mensensor ini. Dampak apa yang saya maksud? Sudah 35 tahun sekian puluh juta anak Indonesia tidak dapat pendidkan dalam kusasteraan Indonesia di sekolah, khususnya di sekolah negeri. Di seluruh dunia bangsa-bangsa yang pedulikan budaya menjadikan mata palaaajaran sastera kebangsaan mata pelajaran wajib. Selama enam tahun sekolah menengah setiap murid diwajibkan membaca sekian novel, sekian cerpen, ekian drama, sekian syahrir dan sekian esei dari penulis-penulis terbaik dan terpenting dari negerinya.

Hanya di Indonesia tidak. Karena banyak buku dilarang, lebih jangan diajarkan sama sekali.

Kalau berbagai kubu di dunia sastera ingin"berdamai" alangkah berguna kalau BERSATU menyusun komite kurikulum sastrea Indonesia dan menyusun kurikulm 6 tahun untuk sekolah menegah Indonesia dan kemudian mengkampnyekannya sebagai mata pelajaran wajib di semua sekolah Indonesia. Sebuah kurikulum sastrea dan daftar bacaan wajib sastrea-sastrea terbaik bangsa, tanpa sensor dalam memilih atau menaafsirkannya.

Taufiq Ismail. Gunawan Muhammed, Putu Oka, Joesoef Isak - antara lain, tentu saja - cocok bersatu menjadi pelindung komite. Banyak tenaga muda yang bisa melakukan kerjaan-kerjaan.

Maafkan aku memberanikan diri memajukan anjuran ini.

Max Lane

An exhibition of a selection of the works of Indonesian painter, the late Semsar Siahaan, is currently on in the Cemara gallery in Jakarta. Anhybody in jakarta, should take the opportuinity to see these works. They include some of Semsar's black and white drawings as well as later works, painted in colour. It is also includes his "G8 Pizza" work - a work depicting the ugly inhumanity of capitalism.

Semsar, who also studied Marxist ideas while in Australia in the early 1990s, was an integral part of the anti-dictatorship and pro-people movement of the 1990s, often the victim of direct violence. He was a personality sensitive to the ugliness of capitalism and the pain suffered by the people. His paintings are infused with pain and they invert the ugliness and shattered ugliness of capitalist reality into a seering, moving kind of beauty. He absorbed that pain into himself too which shows through into his self-portratits, I think. See the example below.

Self potrait-Semsar Siahaan.JPG

A self-portrait

Below is one of Semsar's later paintings where he moves to floral colours. Still the pain shows.

semsar's painting.JPG

Below is an example of one of Semsar's earlier black and white works entitled, "Head", taken from Edi Cahyono's Semsar Gallery website.


For some more examples of Semsar's earlier black and white work see the example's on Edi Cahyono's Semsar Gallery site, such as burjuisi or buruh bangunan("construction worker)" or Perkawinan (Marriage)

For more on Semsar see INSIDE INDONESIA, also see a second INSIDE INDONESIA article

Below are the 34 reviews by readers for THIS EARTH OF MANKIND


great story, many points to discuss, April 10, 2007
By Naomi Brewster "prince rupert's drop" (Melbourne, Australia)

I enjoyed Minke's story. Pram is an excellent writer. His prose invokes visual representation as you read through the pages and the pages seem to turn themselves. The book is set in a time and place of which I know little yet I felt, while reading this book, that I could see it and imagine it. I haven't yet gone on to read the rest of the books in the series, so don't know how the characters develop later. Annelies' character gives me much grist for the mill with her passive inability to cope with life or meet events as an equal with her mother and husband and her obsession with what she is not - 'native'. The constant reference in the book to pure, native, half blood is worthy of further analysis. Being from a former English colony (New Zealand) I don't get the impression that this narrative was nearly as prominent there as it seems to have been in Indonesia. I wonder, is this a reflection on the Dutch colonialists or on Indonesia? In all, a good read with much to occupy the reader's attention upon completion. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews


The Sun 2008-02-27.jpg

THE STAR, Sunday January 20, 2008

Layered masterpiece

Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom teaches law at Universiti Malaya and writes the fortnightly ‘Brave New World’ column in The Star’s Views pages.

A new English translation of one of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s works reveals a story that is still as relevant today as it was when it was composed in the 1960s.

THE life of Indonesian journalist and author Pramoedya Ananta Toer is nothing short of awe inspiring. Despite the harshest of treatments, first by colonial Dutch authorities and then by Indonesian dictator Suharto, he lived his life with his ideals intact. Even more impressive is that he was able to express those ideals in beautiful works of literature created under unimaginably harsh conditions.

Imprisoned with hundreds of other political prisoners on Buru Island in 1965 by Suharto, Pramoedya faced living conditions that can only be described as brutal. Though “imprisoned” is perhaps a misleading term as there was no prison as such. They were simply dumped on an island from which there was no escape and were expected to survive on their own.


Pramoedya Ananta Toer's 1960 anti-racialist polemic and history of the Chinese in Indonesia is now available in an English translation by Max Lane.

Pramoedya's 195 page book is accompanied by 4 contemporary essays by other writers. These are:

"Pramoedya: Defiant to the end" by K.S. Jomo. Jomo is U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development and was Professor at the University of Malaya until late 2004. He was also founder of Wira Karya publishers, a Malaysian publisher which published the works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

"Prameodya Ananta Toer: In Memoriam" by Leo Ou-Fan Lee. Lee is Professor of Humanities at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"Pramoedya, Racialism and Socialism" by Max Lane

"Strangers who are not Foreign" by Sumit Mandal. Mandal is an historian at the Universtii Kebangsaan Malaysia

The book is easiest ordered from Select Books in Singapore.


Theatre Performance
“Women seize the night”
Jakarta – Bandung -Jogjakarta - Surabaya

Three actors, experienced in film and on stage, will appear in this production. They are Rieke Diah Pitaloka, Ria Irawan and Vien Herman. They will perform the roles of a member of parliament, a sex worker and a housewife

Rieke Diah Pitaloka and Faiza Mardzoeki

Produced by:
Yayasan Pitaloka and Institut Ungu

Rieke Diah Pitaloka and Faiza Mardzoeki

Dramatic Coordinator:
Wawan Sofwan


Contact person: Vivi Widyawati 08158946404


Friday, November 23, 2007
(from blog of Deepika Shetty, producer of OFF THE SHELF at Channel News Asia.)

It's one packed literary Saturday in Kuala Lumpur. Just take a look at this post by Sharon, almost feels like a mini-lit fest. I'm tempted to get there myself. Would love to hear everyone, though for this post I want to single out Max Lane who will be launching his book Arok of Java at Silverfish Books.

Max Lane is the translator of Pramoedya Ananta Toer's work. His is a literary journey that started almost by accident:
"It’s a long story with a short beginning. Basically I failed the subject of science in High School and the Headmaster said you have to have an additional subject and the only one that was available for me to take at that time was Bahasa Indonesia. Combined with the fact that I loved watching movies set in the exotic Orient, I started studying Bahasa. And the first opportunity I got, I packed my bags and started traveling. In fact, the first countries I visited were Indonesia and Singapore way back in 1969. Then I just got more and more involved in Indonesia and I haven’t quite been able to break that connection which started with learning a language and I don’t want to break that connection either."


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, December 6, 2007

Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s works reflect his country’s strengths and weaknesses. JAMES HIPKISS gains insight into the man from Max Lane, who translated the literary giant’s book, Arok of Jawa.

ONE of the most famous works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the book was originally published in Bahasa Indonesia in 1981 with the title Arok Dedes.

The Indonesian literary giant (“Pram” to his friends and colleagues) with a huge volume of work passed away in April last year.

The translator of the book into English, Max Lane, was at the launch of Arok of Java where he gave insights into the book and its author.

Arok of Java is the story of Ken Arok, a legendary figure of Indonesian history who lived in Kediri, Java, 900 years ago during the Hindu era.

Arok is born into a low caste, but coming into contact with Brahmin priests, he acquires education and knowledge, gaining a huge intellectual capacity in the process.

He fights against the injustices of the caste system and is branded an outlaw, Robin Hood-style.

Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s works reflect his country’s strengths and weaknesses. JAMES HIPKISS gains insight into the man from Max Lane, who translated the literary giant’s book, Arok of Jawa.

ONE of the most famous works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the book was originally published in Bahasa Indonesia in 1981 with the title Arok Dedes.

The Indonesian literary giant (“Pram” to his friends and colleagues) with a huge volume of work passed away in April last year.

The translator of the book into English, Max Lane, was at the launch of Arok of Java where he gave insights into the book and its author.

Arok of Java is the story of Ken Arok, a legendary figure of Indonesian history who lived in Kediri, Java, 900 years ago during the Hindu era.

Arok is born into a low caste, but coming into contact with Brahmin priests, he acquires education and knowledge, gaining a huge intellectual capacity in the process.

He fights against the injustices of the caste system and is branded an outlaw, Robin Hood-style.


'Arok of Java': A coup d'etat and a snotty heroine
Ati Nurbaiti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Arok of Java: A Novel of Early Indonesia By Pramudya Ananta Toer 2007 translation by Max Lane Cover design and text layout: Clement Michael Publisher: Horizon Books, Singapore Pages: 387

Arrow-wielding monks and nuns. Women in the fighting ranks wearing only loincloths -- and a pregnant one, too.

A struggle for power highlighting the competition between those worshiping Syiwa, Wisnu and others, beyond simply followers of Hinduism and Buddhism, way before Christianity and Islam, and colonial rulers, entered Java.


From STRAITS TIMES, Sunday Edition, 28 October, 2007

Love in translation

By Stephanie Yap

He has translated five novels by prominent Indonesian writerPramoedya Ananta Toer, but the first got Max Lane kicked out of the country

WHEN Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer died in April last year at the age of 81, he had been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in literature.

He was also described in obituaries in the international press as the country's leading writer.

But back in 1981, when Australian writer Max Lane translated his book, This Earth Of Mankind, from Bahasa Indonesia into English, it ended up costing him his day job.

Lane, 56, who had started studying Bahasa Indonesia in high school in Australia, was then a diplomat with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.



From 3rd from L to R: Ati Nurbiati, Managing editor, Jakarta Post"; Max Lane; Gekky Tambunan, Dept of Literature, University of Indonesia

Periplus Kemang, Jakarta, 27 October


Writer to the World is published below. It is a very interesting article on Pramoedya as he speaks to people beyond Indonesia. Writer to the World is written by Chris Gogwilt, Professior of English and Comparative Literature at Fordham University in New York, USA. It was first published in INSIDE INDONESIA.


With the death of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, world literature mourns one of its greatest writers. Within Indonesia and internationally, obituaries, memorials, and reflections have already awarded him the posthumous recognition as a writer of world literature that was denied him during his lifetime, in the form of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It will take much longer, however, to come to terms with the full significance of Pramoedya’s achievements, from the early stories about the period of the Indonesian independence struggle up to the monumental historical novels that emerged from the period of his internment on Buru Island under Suharto’s New Order. Encompassing both the formation and the dismantling of Third World revolutionary nationalism, Pramoedya’s personal, literary, and historical experience registers the seismic shock-effects of twentieth century decolonisation.

Gogwilt at Fordham.jpg

(Chris GoGwilt is sitting in the middle. On the left is Will Schwalbe, the US publisher of Pramoedya, now at Hyperion Books. Fordham seminar on Pramoedya, April 24, 2006. Photo by Dhyta Caturani.)


Arok of Java.jpg

Ratna Sarumpaet is one of Indonesia's leading playwrights and directors and was a pro-democracy activist during the Suharto years. She i still outspokjen on many political and social issues. She recently ended a period as Chairperson of the Jakarta Arts Council.

Danial Indrakusuma is one of Indonesia's leading critical intellectuals and politicians who had regular discussions with Pramoedya. He won the Special Jury Prize for Short Documentary in 2002 at the Jakarta International Film Festival for his film "It is difficult to forget .... difficult to forget" on the events of 1965 when Pramoedya was arrested. He has written for such magazines as Prisma, Progres, and the tabloid, Pembebasan. He has spoken at forums in Australia, the Philippines, the Netherlands and Portugal. He was a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Association (PRD) in 2004.

AROK OF JAVA a novel by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (AROK DEDES - Indonesian title) in translation by Max Lane and with Introductiory Essay will be launched at National Library of Singapore on September 12, 2007.

To see Book Launch poster from National Library of Singapore click on "Download File" below

Download file

If you will be in Jakarta August 12, 13 or 14 and want to see Pramoedya Ananta Toer's character from This Earth of Mankind, Nyai Ontosoroh brought onto the stage contact the NYAI ONTOSOROH PROJECT booking office asap;

Tel/fax: 62-21-8302028

Performances are in Indonesian.

For more information in Indonesian see below.



Kisah perlawanan perempuan bernama Sanikem…

Zaman kolonial Belanda gadis-gadis dijual, diserahkan kepada pembesar-pembesar Belanda dijadikan gundik, atau Nyai...
Jaman penjajahan Jepang perempuan dijual dan dipaksa dijadikan Jugun Ianfu...
Jaman sekarang perempuan-perempuan dijual oleh keluarga, oleh negara, dijadikan TKW, menjadi budak rumah tangga, kadang dipaksa atau ditipu dijadikan pekerja sex

demi devisa, jadi pahlawan sehari, kemudian dilupakan…


Pentas Teater Nyai Ontosoroh
Adaptasi dari novel Bumi Manusia karya Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Gedung Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta
Jakarta, 12, 13, 14 Agustus 2007

Naskah : Faiza Mardzoeki, Sutradara: Wawan Sofwan

Happy Salma
Restu Sinaga, Ayu Diah Pasha, Madina Wowor, Temmy, Sita "RSD" Nursanti, William Bivers, M Hendrayanto, Teuku Rifnu Wikana, Nuansa Ayu, Felencia Hutabarat, Antony Laurentz, Joint, Temmy H, Rusman, Joint, Bowo GP, Syaeful Amri-Ari-, Rusman, Pipien Putri, Rebecca Henscke

Direktur Artistik : Dolorosa Sinaga, Co Penata Artistik: Gallis A.S,
Penata Musik : Fahmi Alatas, Penata Busana : Merdi Sihombing,
Penata Lampu : Aziz Dying& Sari Sound Engineer : Mogan Pasaribu
Koreografer: Pipien Putri
VIP Rp 100.000,00
Wings Rp 75.000,00
Balkon Rp 30.000,00

How to get tickets? SEE BELOW


Rehearsals have begun for the Jakarta production of NYAI ONTOSOROH, a play written by Faiza Mardzoeki, based on the novel THIS EARTH OF MANKIND by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. A Bandung production will be performed in late December.

This project still needs your financial support. Read below for more information and how to donate.

Cultural coalition for liberation

A broad coalition of arts, human rights and political activists around Indonesia have taken on the mammoth task of adapting the novel, THIS EARTH OF MANKIND by Pramoedya Ananta Toer for the stage. This first ever dramatic adaptation has been written by women's rights and cultural activist, Faiza Mardzoeki. The play will be performed in 13 cities by thirteen different theatrial groups. In Jakarta, the director will be Ken Zuraida from Bengkel Teater, with actors and the artistic team drawn from a range of traditions and backgrounds.

Ken Zuraida, director of NYAI ONTOSOROHin Jakarta

Rehearsal session in Jakarta

fai and Pram.jpg
Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Faiza Mardzoeki, April, 2006
Photos from the Press Conference launching the project.

Below is a brief description of the project and a funding appeal.

The “Nyai Ontosoroh” Theatre Project- Adapted from the novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), by Pramoedya Ananta Toer -

Produced by Perguruan Rakyat Merdeka (PRM – Free Peoples Forum) and supported by Elsam, Institut Ungu, Jaringan Nasional Perempuan Mahardhika, JARI, Kalyanamitra,
Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia, Komunitas Ciliwung, LBH APIK, Pramoedya Institute, Pantau, Perkumpulan Praxis, Perkumpulan Seni Indonesia, and Solidaritas Perempuan


For those who can read Indonesian, below is an article entitled "Challenging the subordination of women", reporting on the NYAI ONTSOROH project. Also see the earlier posting on this project.


Below is Joeseof Isak's sppechon September 29 on Pramoedya Ananta Toer. It is taken from You will find other trbutes to pramoedya delivered at Ubud on this site.

Remembering Pramoedya Ananta Toer

I am very pleased indeed to be able to participate in this conference which commemorates Pramoedya Ananta Toer who passed away this year at the end of April. As Pramoedya’s editor and publisher during Suharto’s administration – along with my late colleague Hasyim Rachman – I consider it an honour and duty to add my modest contribution to this commemoration of Pramoedya. Such a gathering years ago would have subjected us all to arrest and imprisonment.


If anybody wants to send in any of the lyrics of Sawung Jabo's songs, especially with English translations, I will put them up on the blog.

On August 5 in Jakarta, we attended a concert: “Satu Langkah Sejuta Cakrawala: an anthology by Sawung Jabo” (One step, a million horizons) with the performaces by the musician Sawung Jabo and his musical comrades: Innisisri (drum and percussion), Totok Tewel, Suzan Piper (backing vocals), Firman Sitompul (Cello), Hari Pochang (harmonica, guitar, vocal), Mukti-Mukti (guitar vocal), Gondrong Gunarto (percussion, kecapi, cuk, saluang), Ary Juliyant (tin whistle, fiddle), Ucok Hitabarat (violin), Baruna (backing vocal), Julyandi (electric guitar) and Donny Suwung (backing vocal).

I don’t know enough about musical categories to be definite about how to categorise the music. For me it was a kind of dynamic pop music, incorporating a range of Indonesian instruments as well as Western instruments. The music ranged from being soothing and pleasant to energetic and lively and awakening. It was great to listen to. Each of the musicians were able to display their skills and talent and impressed me and the audience.


Revitriyoso Husodo has been a cultural activist for more than ten years. He studies at Gajah Mada State University in Jogjakarta as well as at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Between 2000-2003, he was a leader of JAKER (Peoples Cultural Network). He later started a new group, called the Rahayu Movement and since 2005 has been working as the Program Officer for Networking and Culture at the Institute of Global Justice (IGJ) in Jakarta.

On August 4, a new book, compiled by Revi, as he is known, was launched at the IGJ offices. The speakers included Alex Supartono, a Jakarta fine arts curator and activist, as well as myself. Revi’s new book was entitled THE ART OF RESISTANCE. It was a book of photographs that he had taken while helping organize a demonstration against the World Trade Organisation (WTO), during a WTO meeting in Hongkong in December, 2005. There are 89 black and white photos in the book. About 20-30 of these were also on display in a photographic exhibit in the gallery section of the IGJ offices, where the book launch was held. The launch was well attended by the media, with at least two television stations and two radio stations interviewing Revi as well as the speakers.


The Goethe Institute in Sam Ratulangi Street, Jakarta was packed out as at least 400 people gathered to commemorate the life and work of Pramoedya Ananta Toer on the occasion of 100 days since his passing away. The event was organized by Yayasan Penelitian Korban Politik 1965 (YPKP – Foundation for Research into the Political Victims of 1965) of which Pramoedya was a member. The commemoration, which was held in the evening, followed an extended discussion in the afternoon of a new book by Pramoedya’s brother, Koesalah Soebagyo Toer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer – from very close up. The discussion was an occasion for people to exchange reminiscences and assessments of Pramoedya as they knew him.

There was a dynamic mix of people there: from the old pre-1965 Left, communists and Soekarnoists; activists from the contemporary Left, the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD), the Institute for Global Justice (IGJ), Praxis and a range of others – probably more than I recognized, There was also just a mix of people who had read Pram, his readers, a steadily growing constituency from all kinds of backgrounds, young and old, rich and poor. The reach of Pramoedya’s works grows steadily and the size of gatherings of his readers are only held back by the limited funds to advertise events.


Women’s movement activists and artists unite

Last April around 100 activists, mainly women, united to organise the first women’s cultural festival to be held in Jakarta for several decades, at least. The festival began on 5 April and ended on 21 April, the birthday of Kartini, who wrote and campaigned on women’s rights at the beginning of the century. The momentum for the festival developed in April 2002 after activists from Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights), staged a performance of an adaptation of Nawal El Saadawi’s novel, Women at Point Zero, a story of the oppression of women in Egypt and that exulted in the spirit of a woman’s defiance of that oppression. It was a unique event also in that it brought together women’s movement activists, community arts activists, as well as TV actors and celebrities.


Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s and up until now, the form of literarture that has been at the forefront of art’s role in political and social renewal has been drama. The playwright Rendra has played the most important role acting as the vanguard of socially and politically committed art in the 1970s at a time when it had been suppressed and was almost non-existent. The price he paid for reviving committed poetry and theatre in defiance of state policy suppressing that kind of arts was almost one year in gaol without trial in 1978. His pioneering work of that period included Mastadon dan Burung Kondor, Kisah Perjuangan Suku Naga and Sekda. (His Indonesian adaptation of Lysistrata was also a masterpiece of comic satire.) His poems Pamflet Penyair (A Poet’s Pamphlets), also published as Portret Pembangunan dalam Puisi (A Portrait of Development in Poetry) was the poetic supplement to these works. These works, combined with Rendra’s politico-literary praxis, acted together as not just the vanguard of socio-politically committed art, but as the vanguard of public opposition to the New Order dictatorship itself after the suppression of the student movement in 1974. Rendra has remained a prolific writer of drama, and especially poetry. He retains a large constituency of supporters and fans. See Rendra website

Other prominent theatre artist who ran afoul of the New Order dictatorship, was Nano Riantarno who produced a number of political plays, most well known being Suksesi (Succession) and Opera Kecoa (Cockroach Opera).

But there have been many others, including those who have introduced satire into traditional theatre or traditional comic performance.

Jamilia dan Sang Presiden (Jamilia and the President)


Indonesia's greatest novelist and revolutionary intellectual died in Jakarta on April 30, 2006. Below are three articles by Max Lane, published in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD< GREEN LEFT WEEKLY and JAKARTA POST respectively.

(For more materials on Pramoedya see and as well as )

Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 2006

Man of letters and revolution
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Novelist, 1925-2006

IN THE days before Indonesia's greatest novelist, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, died, text messages and emails had warned that he was seriously ill. Many readers gathered at his hospital bed and later his home where they sang songs of struggle or prayed.
I met Pramoedya in 1980 after reading his wonderful novel, This Earth of Mankind, which I was to later translate. It was the first of many meetings with an earthy, stubborn man who deeply loved Indonesia and the revolution that created it, its history, and its people.
He wrote more than 40 works, including novels, short stories, plays, history, literary criticism and more than 400 newspaper essays. He translated Gorky, Tolstoy and Steinbeck, among others. All this work was motivated by a love for humanity. He never tired of quoting from the great Dutch novelist, Multatuli: "It is the duty of human beings to become human."


The Authors

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