The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (5-9 October 2011) was a highlight indeed of prodigious proportions, one of those uplifting lifetime events. The magical appeal of Bali, what more Ubud, was the perfect setting for an event of this nature as the creative juices just kept pouring like the rivers of sweat down ones' back.
The whimsical atap-roofed box office on Jalan Raya Sangginggan says it all. Single (AUS $103) or four-day passes (AUS $360) were on offer, whilst special events like cocktails, readings, workshops were extra (AUD $63). Why AUD$? UWRF is basically an Aussie affair which has been running successfully for 10 years or so. The last major sponsor Citibank Indonesia pulled out at the eleventh hour leaving the fate of UWRF 2011 in a quandary for sometime until ANZ came in to save the day.
The Opening Ceremony at the Pura Ubud was reminiscent of a scene from Eat, Pray, Love in the temple courtyard full of pomp and pageantry.
The Workshop on Point of View (POV) was carried out by two Australian writers /editors by way of exercises and examples of writings in varied POVs. The first person is commonly used in memoir writing, second person more for instructional manuals whilst the third is commonly used in fiction writing.
The sessions could be heavy going, but a good place to rest the eyes and mind would be just glancing out over the veranda and taking in the green vistas.
Latin Rhythms at Mosaic, an award-winning restaurant, was full of soul. While canapes, margaritas and mojitos were being served, we were entertained to readings by a Colombian poet, a Cuban author and a Mexican story-teller. Yes there still is such a category of 'story-teller' as she quipped, "It's a much safer pursuit compared to being a poet/revolutionary/social critic in countries where censorship is harsh". The evening was moderated by and African American whose only link to anything Latin was his first wife, and who existed in Bali running a Yoga school with his current wife.
One of the three Festival venues, Indus Restaurant on Jalan Raya Singginggan, had snacks, coffee, a popular jewelry store as well as Periplus book store. The carrot cake is highly recommended.