A FESTIVAL THAT IS Literally Magical.

Set in the heart of Ubud, Bali's vibrant art and cultural hub, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival invites thousands of attendees each year who are offered the opportunity to listen to world-leading writers, poets, and novelists in conversations about a range of themes. We take pride in celebrating curiosity and a sense of intellectual adventure every October in the heart of Bali. Our program is driven by the desire to spark ideas, foster dialogue, and provide a space for engaging with the world.
Over the years, we have presented the likes of Nick Cave, Richard Flanagan, Hanya Yanagihara, Jeffrey Eugenides, Colson Whitehead, Anne Enright, Teju Cole, Yotam Ottolenghi, Fatima Bhutto, Amitav Ghosh, Mohsin Hamid, Etgar Keret, Audrey Magee, Shehan Karunatilaka, and many more—all in friendly, relaxed, and beautiful tropical surroundings.

Alongside author in-conversations and panel discussions, there will be a wide-ranging offering of Indonesian dance and performance, literary lunches, guided tours of Ubud’s famous markets, temples, and rice fields, late-night comedy, musical and spoken word galas, as well as book launches, workshops, and events designed to enrich and inspire the imaginations of emerging writers and young people.

OUR FOUNDERS  

The Festival was first conceived by Melbourne-born Janet DeNeefe, Co-Founder of Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, together with her Balinese husband, Dr. Drs. I Ketut Suardana as a healing project in response to the first 2002 Bali bombings.
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I Ketut Suardana

Founder Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati

Dr. Drs. I Ketut Suardana, M.Fil.H, is the Co-Founder of the non-profit organization Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. He works closely with the Festival Director to develop and deliver our strategy in line with the vision of the foundation.

Janet DeNeefe

Founder and Director

Melbourne-born Janet DeNeefe is the visionary Founder and Director of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Crafted in the wake of the 2002 Bali Bombings, she created the festival as a beacon of hope, aimed at rebuilding both the community spirit and economy after this tragic event. Since its inception in 2004, the festival's triumphant launch marked the beginning of a remarkable journey. Today, it stands as one of the world’s premier festivals, that infuses vitality into Indonesia's literary arena. DeNeefe penned the books, Fragrant Rice, To Stir with Love, and Bali: Food of MyIsland Home. Together with her husband Ketut, she is the driving force behind Ubud's renowned establishments: Casa Luna, Indus Restaurant, Casa Luna Cooking School, and Honeymoon Guesthouse and Bakery. With more than three decades in Bali, DeNeefe has made a mark on the rich tapestry of the island's cultural landscape.

Laksmi DeNeefe

Official Ambassador

Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana is Bali’s first Puteri Indonesia and Miss Universe Indonesia 2022. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Business of Fashion from Polimoda, Italy – one of the fashion capitals of the world. While her advocacy and life mission are to promote education, literacy, women's empowerment, and sustainability, she is also passionate about Indonesia’s cultural diversity and, of course, cuisine, its maritime spice history, and healing ingredients. Being away from home for eight years, she often cooked her favorite Indonesian dishes and experimented with local ingredients. Food, fashion, wellness, stories, culture, and philanthropy are some of the things bringing her the most joy.

THE FOUNDATION

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival takes the spotlight as one of the flagship annual initiatives of the Mudra Swari Saraswati Foundation.

Established in 2004, the Foundation is a dynamic, independent, and non-profit organization, untethered from government influence. The dedicated members are all about enriching the lives and futures of Indonesians by weaving a tapestry of community-centric arts and cultural programs.
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What's the Foundation's Core Mission?
The mission of the Foundation is to empower individuals and communities to unleash their creative potential, enabling them to thrive in our fast-paced, ever-evolving global society. The Festival serves as our creative engine, fueled by the proceeds from ticket sales at our events and workshops, allowing us to pursue our dreams of igniting creativity, providing education, and supporting the younger generation.
How does the Foundation achieve its mission?
For the Foundation, it's all about putting Ubud on the map as a hub for arts and culture. Its aim is to spotlight Indonesian writers on the world stage during our annual Festival and help young Indonesians unlock their potential through education and literature. Plus, the revenue the Festival generates from ticket sales covers free public events, workshops for local kids, high school students, and their teachers, and even enables local residents to participate, regardless of their budget.

The Foundation also supports emerging voices across the Indonesian archipelago. Each year, a team of independent curators sifts through numerous submissions, selects the best, translates their works, and publishes them in the Festival’s Emerging Writing Anthology Series. The winning authors receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Ubud to showcase their talent in front of international audiences.
How can you join the Mission?
This year, the Festival turns 20! To celebrate, the Foundation has some exciting plans that will help us stride boldly into the future:

1) It aims to turn up the volume with Indonesia's school children, nurturing the next generation of readers and writers.
1) It aims to double down on our support for Indonesia's up-and-coming authors, giving them even more chances to change their lives.
3) And it's putting Indonesian writing on the world map, so the world's fourth-largest country, this giant archipelago state, can have its voice heard loud and clear.

If you want to be part of these initiatives, you can become a Festival Friend or lend a hand to our Anniversary Fundraiser.
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Meet our Team

Our year-round team and seasonal staff dedicate themselves to the Foundation’s mission to move our Festival forward for generations to come. It works with great commitment, passion and flexibility so that the Festival continues to surprise. 
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Dwi Ermayanthi

Festival Manager

Dwi Ermayanthi (Erma) plays a pivotal role in the festival, overseeing all aspects and ensuring the successful attainment of our key objectives while upholding the core values that define our event. With her extensive experience as a project manager in the cultural and art industry, Erma brings over a decade of expertise in working on various festivals in Ubud.

Hannah Curtis

Head of International Programming

Hannah Curtis leads the international program and works closely with the national program team to develop and deliver a comprehensive four-day festival program. She has extensive experience working for renowned Australian cultural institutions, including The Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the popular Melbourne Art Book Fair. Hannah holds a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies and a Postgraduate degree in Fine Art, Art History, and Arts Management.

Gustra Adnyana

Indonesian Program Manager

In his role, Gustra Adnyana's active involvement underscores his commitment to fostering artistic endeavors and Indonesian cultural initiatives. His responsibilities also include building networks and bridges between international and local communities to ensure continuous connectivity. Gustra has extensively collaborated with Indonesian writers, artists, and communities throughout Indonesia, with a particular focus on Bali. He is notably dynamic in literary and visual arts, dedicating his free time to supporting emerging artists, writers, and creative individuals in organizing art events.

Ni Wayan Primayanti

Program Coordinator

Ni Wayan Primayanti (Prima) is a program coordinator at Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. She assists the Indonesian Program Manager and connects mostly with Indonesian writers and communities involved in Music, Art Performance, Film Screening, Book Discussions, and many more. She is passionate about event organisation, journalism, media, and culture. Previously she worked as a television producer in Jakarta before moving to Bali. Besides the festival, Prima gives communication lectures at LSPR Institute of Communication and Business in Bali. 

Dita Saraswati Giri

Program Coordinator

Ni Made Dita Kurnia Saraswati Giri (Dita) supports the program team of the Festival, assisting in the planning and execution of international and national programs. With a Master's degree in International Relations, she has a passion for foreign policy study and enjoys diving into fictional worlds and writing in her spare time.

Rainintha Siahaan

Partnership Manager

Rain Siahaan leads the partnerships team for the festival. She brings a decade of combined professional experience with a global management consulting firm, a multilateral organization, non-profit board management, and technology companies across Southeast Asia. Her focus area includes structuring and managing a range of investments and partnerships for the public, private, and social sectors. Rain holds a BA degree in International Relations from Universitas Indonesia.

Puji Widiani

Partnership Coordinator

Puji Widiani brings a wealth of expertise to her role as Partnership Coordinator for the Festival. Her primary focus is fostering effective communication with partners and she believes there's always something to learn from every interaction. She graduated with a major in Hindu Theology in Denpasar and is currently pursuing her master's in Communications in Denpasar. She strongly believes in the importance of continuous learning, as life never stops teaching. Therefore, she loves to explore new things to facilitate her growth.

Nicola Walpen

Head of Marketing and Communications

Nicola Walpen leads the Marketing & Communications team, overseeing integrated festival campaigns and creating engaging content and materials to drive year-round attendance and audience engagement. He has prior experience in communication roles for Indonesian conservation non-profit organizations and the city government of Zurich. Nicola holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Communications from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

Patricia Emanuelle

Digital Marketing Specialist

Patricia Emanuelle (Nuelle) supports digital marketing activities for the Festival, promoting the festival brand by creating engaging content on multiple digital and social media platforms. She also works to engage people with both festivals using various activation strategies, collaborating with other departments to develop fresh, creative angles. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Design, with a major in Branding Design. Currently residing in Ubud, Emanuelle enjoys her time outside of work pursuing various art and literature-related interests.

Yogi Pradana

Graphic Designer

Yogi Pradana is a graphic designer for the Festival, who brings creative ideas to life in both digital and print visuals and ensures they are executed in an exciting manner. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication Design from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Denpasar.

I Made Suka Merta

Production Coordinator

I Made Suka Merta (Abut) leads the Production and Operations team, responsible for delivering the physical elements of the Festival, including all panels and events. He works closely with the Marketing & Communications teams to bring creative ideas to life and ensure they are executed safely and sustainably. Additionally, he oversees security and safety, collaborating with suppliers to equip all events with the latest technology and technical equipment.

Ni Wayan Widiatmini

Senior Accountant

Ni Wayan Widiatmini (Widi) is responsible for ensuring efficient management of income and expenditure through processing, budgeting, and forecasting. Her responsibilities encompass processing invoices, handling expenses and salaries, as well as generating invoices for earned income. She also establishes and maintains control measures to guarantee the accuracy of the Festival's records.

Eka Septiarti

Administrative Coordinator

Eka Septiarti is responsible for directly supervising and coordinating the activities of clerical and administrative support staff. She prepares and manages reports, manuals, correspondence, and other documents using a database or word processing software. She also plans and organizes travel by booking flight tickets for the speakers. Meeting new speakers and volunteers is her favorite part of these festivals, as she can learn a lot from them.

Ni Made Erna Maygayanti

Administrative and Ticketing Officer


Ni Made Erna Maygayanti (Mega) works as an Administrative and Ticketing Officer for the Festival. She is responsible for managing online ticket sales and purchases, while overseeing the Box Office during the festival. She graduated from a university in Singaraja, North Bali.

Wayan Nick Ariawan

Office Assistant

Wayan Nick Ariawan (Nick) serves as the Office Assistant, assisting with the setup and teardown of product booths and logistical arrangements both before and after the festival. He also helps coordinate transportation, storage, and distribution of festival equipment, materials, and merchandise.

Ruth Onduko

Volunteer Coordinator

Ruth Onduko serves as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Festival. With her professional background as a Community Manager and Independent Art Manager, Ruth draws upon her wealth of experience to actively contribute to the Festival's mission of celebrating literature and culture. Her aim is to collaborate with hundreds of dedicated fellow volunteers to help make the festival a vibrant and enriching cultural experience.

Inten Poniari

Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Inten Poniari works closely with volunteers in both the Ubud Food Festival and the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival as a Volunteer Coordinator. She is currently an active Communication student. Inten is responsible for collecting volunteer applications, selecting, coordinating, and supporting the volunteers to meet the festival's needs.

OUR PARTNERS

We are proud to work with brands that match with our values and enhance the experience for our visitors.
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Contact Us

Get in touch with us. We love making new friends!
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Head Office, Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571
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