Reflections on Ubud

Writers from left to right: Chua Guat Eng, Debra Yatim, Minae Mizumura, Tash Aw
From UWRF 2014, writers from left to right: Chua Guat Eng, Debra Yatim, Minae Mizumura, Tash Aw

Within the past twelve months, I’ve had the opportunity to attend three writing festivals: the Singapore Writers Festival (last November), the Sydney Writers’ Festival (earlier this year), and most recently, the slightly more cumbersomely named Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, held earlier this month. Except for Ubud, believe it or not, the festivals have happened to coincide with me being in town: I have family I visit regularly in Singapore and I happen to live in Sydney. Ubud, I must confess, was a way of me treating myself after the rather traumatic experience of academia and I breaking up last semester. (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that I’m going to tell you what happened at some point. It’ll come, and probably be anticlimactic as the result of all this waiting!)

I wrote some notes on Ubud (or as it’s also known, UWRF) for Asymptote‘s blog, which you can find here. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“…The fact that so many writers desired to read their work in the original languages—and in several cases spoke of the importance of language to their craft—pointed at the lingering sense of inadequacy, the “not quite,” that still haunts translation: the sense that even as translation offers us a window into other worlds, we see through a glass, darkly….”

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