Indonesian Literature in the Margins
With support from the Lontar Foundation and the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), the Asian American Writers’ Workshop has been publishing a series on Indonesian Literature in the Margins.
This month we feature the work of Iksaka Banu, whose historical fiction overturns the narratives that millions of Indonesians have grown up learning. In the story "Farewell to Hindia," Banu turns to a moment in 1945, when Indonesia is perched between two wars.
In September 2015, in time for the 50th anniversary of one of the worst massacres in the 20th century, we featured the work of journalist and novelist Leila Chudori, whose novel Pulang, or Home, published in October by Deep Vellum Press and translated by John McGlynn, fictionalizes the story of two generations of Indonesians whose lives were transformed by the events in 1965 and the fall of Suharto in 1998.
In our third installment, we featured an excerpt from Abidah El Khalieqy's 2012 novel, Mataraisa, or Eye of Raisa, translated by Joan Suyenaga. El Khalieqy’s novels and short stories delve into the often clashing—sometimes violently—versions of what it means to be a Muslim in Indonesia.
Intan Paramaditha is a feminist fiction writer and scholar whose work explores where gender, sexuality, culture, and politics meet. Translated by Stephen Epstein, the short story “Apple and Knife” adapts the Quranic/Biblical story of Yusuf/Joseph and Zulaikha, mashing up horror and irony.