Indonesia – 21st June- Jakarta – what a beautiful day!

Dear friends

I am sharing my journey of Indonesia with you.

My days in Jakarta have ended.

Tomorrow I travel to Makassar for the literature festival. 

Qaisra 

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.Indonesia – 21st June- Jakarta – what a beautiful day!

We leave hotel on the dot at 7am- outside it is misty and dull but the traffic remains tenacious. I step into the grounds of the University of Indonesia – and am bowled over – one of the most beautiful universities I have ever visited. Dating back to the 19th century it is the oldest in Indonesia. The setting is so enchanting, with open corridors with thatched roofs, lush tropical gardens and replicas of ancient Hindu and Buddhist monuments.

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I thoroughly enjoy my literary session, with readings and a lively discussion on writing and ‘Images of Islam and intercultural issues’. My moderator and host Asri Saraswati are great. In the middle of my session my translator Atta and her husband Anton, my editor for ‘ Revolt’ walk in with their lovely daughter Maura – my face splits into a wide smile of delight!! I am meeting them after 4 years.

For lunch we are treated to a very special restaurant complex, ‘Mang E Naking’ with its huge thatched roofs, many open balconies and eating areas, set in a manmade small lake with colourful fishes swimming around- I revel in this most attractive, tropical and picturesque surroundings and insist on photos being taken by our photographer, Iqbal. As we are tucking into a delicious banquet of various dishes, the heavens open with tropical showers!

My next destination, to deliver a ‘Screen writing workshop’ is the ultra modern and plush environment of International Binus university. There I meet my other wonderful friends, Dody a photographer, who travelled down to Jakarta from Sumatra, his wife Sri and adorable daughter Qei (Qaisra – named after me!) from Bandung. Qei endearingly complains that everyone keeps giving her chocolates!

I share my session with a very famous local filmmaker and writer, Erwin Ernada.(@ErwinArnada)

An endearing man – loved the trailer of his new film set on the island of Bali about mute village children. The session is interactive and goes well, held together by a fantastic moderator, Desiree. The students benefit from our experiences including on how to adapt books into films. I discuss my adaptation of my novel The Holy Woman into a film screenplay.

The day ends with a marvellous bang – we attend the 30th anniversary of my publisher Mizan at a top hotel and are honoured with being seated at a top table. There is fantastic entertainment, award giving, lots of speeches and with singing by a lovely blind girl, men and two gorgeous and glamourous fully veiled women.

The highlight of the evening for us was the gathering of our original Mizan team/ friends including Fanfan and our former driver Yanto who took us everywhere many years ago. There are hugs and smiles all around. We cannot contain our delight. I could not stop hugging my dear sister Tutuk, my former host, Ceo of Mizan digital and the woman who liked and introduced The Holy Woman to Indonesia!

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