NOW! Publications and writers take on Ubud, four times over!

Nightlife | Written By, NOW! BALI | October 15th, 2014

Since 2012, NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta magazines have published 4 books together with their writers, all focused on the cultures of Bali and Indonesia: the Cultural Books Series. This year, for the first time, they have been a part of the very popular literary gathering, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The writers, supported by publisher Alistair Speirs, held fantastic presentations and talks, engaging with their readers and audience members and spreading their knowledge of Balinese and/or Indonesian culture and heritage. It was a big week for the NOW!Publications with four events taking place over four days, 1 October – 4 October 2014.

Since 2012, NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta magazines have published 4 books together with their writers, all focused on the cultures of Bali and Indonesia: the Cultural Books Series. This year, for the first time, they have been a part of the very popular literary gathering, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The writers, supported by publisher Alistair Speirs, held fantastic presentations and talks, engaging with their readers and audience members and spreading their knowledge of Balinese and/or Indonesian culture and heritage. It was a big week for the NOW!Publications with four events taking place over four days, 1 October – 4 October 2014.

Ubud saw a doubling up of festivities – both the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival and 8 days of processions at the Gunung Lebah temple. This meant the usually quiet village streets were buzzing with life. The influx of festival goers, set amidst the charming backdrop of the Balinese, busy with colourful street ceremonies, was perhaps the perfect setting for the launches of the NOW!Publications, which all focus on Balinese and/or Indonesian culture.

The first was the launches of Real Bali and Dances of Bali by Kartika Dewi Suardana, contributing editor of NOW! Bali magazine, held in the popular Nomad Café. The event quite fittingly started with a Balinese dance, the Legong Keraton performed by 3 student dancers and contributed by Taman Nusa. Publisher Alistair Speirs then started the talks, telling the audience the mission behind these books, stating that they benefit Bali by re-focusing people’s attention on the island’s culture. Dewi then discussed each book, describing her experiences as she wrote each of them. Dances of Bali, she explains, is an important way of recording a truly unique art form; ever changing and such a core part to Balinese heritage. Real Bali was the recording of a journey to rediscover her Balinese side, having lived abroad for much of her life. The book is a quasi-guide to temples, palaces, museums and nature in Bali, focusing on things that are not commercial yet really highlight Bali’s beauty, history and cultural heritage. Audience members then spoke to Dewi and got their own copies signed.

The second event was part of the UWRF ‘Festival Club’, an open event in Bar Luna. Here, the authors of Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage and Secret Bali came together to present an interesting presentation called the “Tales of Lost Villages”. Writer and photographer of Hidden Heritage, David Metcalf, began the presentation with a photographic journey through the country, featuring images found in the book and others he had taken. Then he, co-author Stephanie Brookes and author of Secret Bali, Jill Gocher, took turns to read and tell stories of Lost Villages found on the island and around Indonesia. The stories told opened the audience’s minds to the diversity of Indonesia and that, even with rapid development happening, there are still pockets of hidden lands to be discovered.

Third was the launch of Secret Bali, by Jill Gocher with Jean Couteau, in The Elephant Restaurant, a charming spot with a fantastic view of the Campuhan ridge. Festival-goers piled in and filled the venue, as sangria, wine and canapés were served for all. Again, publisher Alistair Speirs began the talks, telling stories of his first encounter with Bali, where the loudest sound was the bell tied around a farmer’s cow and Ubud was still a village in the wild. An appropriate beginning to open Secret Bali, a book that uncovers life ‘behind the tourist façade’; a window into the everyday lives and customs of the Balinese, often unseen to tourists. Author Jill Gocher, a fantastic photographer and travel writer, discussed different aspects of the book, explaining ‘secret’ parts of Bali to the audience. Historian Jean Couteau, who contributed 2 stories to the book, then joined her. He discussed the deeper aspects of Balinese culture, delving into their belief systems and helped to explain some of the unique Balinese ‘quirks’ many of us don’t understand. After a brief debate over where Bali’s culture was heading, along with the audience, Jill and Jean gave their time to signing books for their readers.

Finally, from NOW! Jakarta magazine, the launch of Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage was held in The Alaya Resort and Spa. It was perhaps a surprise for the audience as fully geared Dayak dancers, flown in from Palangkaraya, Kalimantan, welcomed them with an energetic dance- these dancers are supported by the book’s authors, David Metcalf and Stephanie Brookes. Alistair Speirs began the talk, discussing the need to promote Indonesia as a truly unique destination and the need to record, protect and savour the diversity of its rich culture. Then authors David and Stephanie, through an informative question and answer session, discussed the book; where it came from, their experiences, difficulties and of course the many cultures that they had seen and engaged with.

These launches were not only important for the books themselves, but were an effective means of reminding people about the very culture that surrounds them, the very aim of the NOW! Cultural Book Series. The NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta team are very proud to be a part of the Ubud Writer’s Festival and are thankful for their support, as well as for the support of Nomad Café, The Elephant Restaurant and The Alaya Resort. Furthermore, the team wishes to thank the fantastic work done over the years by our writers, who continue to share the same vision of promoting Bali’s and Indonesia’s heritage.

These books are available from either the NOW! Bali or NOW! Jakarta offices. Please contact edward@phoenix.co.id (Bali) or ingrid@phoenix.co.id (Jakarta) for more information.
Visit: http://www.nowbali.co.id/publications.html for more information.

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NOW! BALI

Safari
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