Publishing and Translating Indonesian Literary Works: Funding, Cultural Politics and Arts Networks

Dr Andy Fuller1

1University Of Melbourne, Australia

The publishing and translation of Indonesian literary works has largely been practiced by scholars with a range of scholarly interests in Indonesia. The corpus of Indonesian literature in English is largely represented by the work of Harry Aveling, John McGlynn, Pam Allen and others. The Lontar Foundation, established in the 1980s, is the single publisher that has produced the greatest number of texts in English. Lontar, however, has come under criticism from scholars for being too limited in its representation of ‘modern Indonesian literature’ in translation. Moreover, authors such as Eka Kurniawan, Intan Paramaditha and Norman Erikson Pasaribu have found success through other publishers. The increasing mobility and popularity of some authors has also been concomitant with the establishment of a translation funding program by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The creative industries, through the formation of the Bekraf, as such are a clear priority of the Jokowi government. This paper explores the various tensions between the practices of translation, the relative scarcity of funding vis a vis an abundance of literary texts and the cultural politics of Indonesia and Australia. The paper also explores the role of translation in creating new networks between writers, artists and cultural activists.


Andy Fuller is a freelance writer, researcher and translator. He gained his PhD in 2010 from the University of Tasmania through his thesis on Seno Gumira Ajidarma. His research has covered literature, Islamic studies and sports fandom in Indonesia and Australia. He founded Reading Sideways Press with Nuraini Juliastuti in 2018: a small press which focuses on Indonesian literature in translation.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd