Literature Press Review about Frankfurt Bookfair

© Goethe-Institut Indonesien / V. Devi
© Goethe-Institut Indonesien / V. Devi

A choice of interresting articles about Indonesia as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Bookfair 2015. For the articles see the PDF documents below.


13.10.2015 – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Ein Rätsel namens Indonesien
Jochen Buchsteiner


Jochen Buchsteiner detects an extensive ignorance towards Indonesia in Europe, since common intellectual instruments aren’t suitable to appreciate the country. In the light of this, the Frankfurt bookfair constitutes an ideal approach to Indonesia, as the Indonesian literature – notwithstanding the many cultural differences - offers many links to Europeans.


6.10.2015 – Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Indonesiens Lingua franca. Das Band, das Indonesien eint
Katharina Borchardt


Katharina Borchardt reports on the unifying strength of Bahasa Indonesia. Along with Indonesian authors, literary scholars and creative artists she analyzes the significance of Bahasa Indonesia as identity-establishing factor. In doing so, the language is not only seen against the backdrop of Indonesia’s history of independence but also within a globalized world.


14.10.2015 – Frankfurter Rundschau
Wo der Pfeffer wächst
Regine Seipel/Florian Leclerc


The senses of taste, smell and sight are stimulated when you are discovering a new culture via its food. Regine Seipel and Florian Leclerc are reporting on the many sensory impressions of Indonesia - mediated through its food - during the Frankfurt bookfair. But besides the innocuous approaches of culture and culinary art, Indonesia’s appearance at the event had also a political dimension.


19.10.2015 - Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Inseln aus Licht, Inseln aus Schatten
Angela Schader


Angela Schader sums up the appearance of this year’s Guest of honour as successful. On the one hand the Guest of honour’s pavilion indulged all senses and with that, it framed Indonesia’s illuminating literary selection perfectly. On the other hand Indonesia was able to reinforce its enlightened appearance by representing the dark parts of its history through its literature.


9.10.2015 - Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Ein Kaleidoskop lyrischer Stimmen
Berthold Damshäuser


The genre of lyrics has a rich tradition in Indonesia and still maintains the role of the most popular literary type on the Indonesian archipelago. Bernhard Damshäuser, a distinguished expert on the field of Indonesian language and literature, addresses in this article the modern lyrics in Indonesia. By doing this, he is also pointing out the mutual influence with western lyrics.


14.10.2015 - Tagesspiegel
Aufbruch in die neue Freiheit
Holger Heimann


Often, the fictional element in literature allows the utterance of tabooed issues. To Holger Heinemann this is confirmed by Indonesia’s appearance as Guest of honour at the Frankfurt bookfair, since there is a wide gulf between the authors’ representations concerning the mass murders of Indonesian communists starting 1965 and the official narrative of these events. Unfortunately, reading has no high status in Indonesia, as the author notes.


13.10.2015 - Taz
Eröffnungstag der Frankfurter Buchmesse. Alles Bali oder was?
Andreas Fanizadeh


The written word has always a political dimension, since it’s determined to raise the issue of the freedom of expression. This year’s bookfair articulates this connection explicitly, which can also be attributed to its Guest of honour Indonesia. To Andreas Fanizadeh, the representatives of Indonesian literature were successful in raising political issues in a way that is appropriate for a bookfair.


29.10.2015 – Die Welt
Nach der Buchmesse kehrt Indonesien zurück zur Zensur
Marc Reichwein


This year’s Guest of honour at the Frankfurt bookfair impressed the audience with an enlightened selection of literature as a lot of it was dealing with the country’s past of mass murders starting 1965. The taboo seemed to become obsolete. The fact that censorship returned to Indonesia by the end of the book fair reveals that Indonesia is remote from coming to terms with its past.



22.10.2015 – Die Zeit
Farbenspiele des Lebens
Ronald Düker


Ronald Düker’s comment on the performance of this year’s Guest of honour is quite sobering. Measured against the enormous extent of the country and the high quality of the presented literature, the small number of the translated works and the narrow selection of issues left a somewhat disappointing impression.



11.10.2015 - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Indonesien. Land der falschen und richtigen Träume
Florian Balke


Prior to the Frankfurt bookfair Florian Balke discussed Indonesian literature against the backdrop of two decades of Indonesian democracy. In literature it becomes manifest that Indonesia is not only struggling with its own violent past but also with the danger of an increasingly fundamental Islam


12.10.2015 – Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Literatur aus Indonesien. Der Name der Amba
Volker Breidecker


To Volker Breidecker, Laksmi Pamuntjak accomplished to raise the issue of historical injustice convincingly while maintaining the aesthetic autonomy of literature within her work “Amba”. That’s why the book is so worth reading


9.10.2015 – Qantara.de
Discovering a new world
Martin Maria Schwarz


The literary selection that was chosen to be presented at the bookfair – socio-critical and primarily feminine – indeed arouse the interest of the host country. However, the selection only represented a small proportion of the Indonesian literary scene. Within this article Martin Maria Schwarz discusses the types of books that are actually read in Indonesia and also the challenges Indonesian authors have to face when trying to access the German book market.


4.10.2015 – SWR.de
Gespräch: Die 25bändige By the way - Serie
Jan Budweg
(Neue indonesische Literatur auf Englisch, Deutsch und Indonesisch: Verlag Lontar Foundation)


“By the way: Do you know this author?” Probably not, since the “By the way”-series aims to introduce little-known Indonesian authors to an international readership. For this purpose the works within this series are published in three languages (BI, De, En) and vary greatly concerning genre and subject. The conversation with Jan Budweg conveys why this series is a perfect complement to the already existing Indonesian literature at the bookfair.


German Press Review

English Press Review

Indonesian Press Review