That Which Blossoms in the Dark

Here in Ubud, I’m getting ready for the opening night of the Writers and Readers festival. It’s going to be a busy few days, and I’m already excited. Last night was the informal reception for the writers involved in the festival, and for the people covering the events over the coming few days. It was a wonderful evening of fun and of stimulating conversations – about everything from poetry to LGBT rights, and from mental health arts project to the …

Raining Trees, Faraway Isles

I don’t know quite how long ago it was that I ran into the writer and journalist Grace Tan-Johannes (Grace Susetyo) online. I think it was around seven years, although I can’t be sure. Grace got in touch with me as she had read my first novel Cargo Fever (perhaps the only person in Indonesia who has ever done so), and we shared an interest in the Eastern part of the archipelago. We’ve been sporadically in touch ever since – Grace sent …

Return to Indonesia

It is a warm night in Bali, and I am walking along the road eating tahu isi – filled, deep fried parcels of tofu – when I realise how grateful I am to be back in Indonesia after almost a quarter of a century. I came to Indonesia in 1994 to study to become an anthropologist. I spent six of the most formative months of my life in the Tanimbar islands of Maluku, and returned to the UK to take …