Eka Kurniawan: Indonesia’s most exciting author

Years after their original publication, novels by Eka Kurniawan are now available in English. He talks to Hephzibah Anderson at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Eka Kurniawan has been described as “the brightest meteorite in Indonesia’s new literary firmament”; the Jakarta Post calls him as “one of the few influential writers” in the country. But until 2015, none of his books were available in English.

This year has seen the publication of two. His novels Man Tiger and Beauty is a Wound blend political satire and earthy folklore with magic realist elements to deal with Indonesia’s difficult 20th Century history. They have been favourably reviewed in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker and New Republic and have finally brought Kurniawan to the attention of the English-speaking literary world.

Indonesia was the guest nation at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Eka Kurniawan joined Hephzibah Anderson on stage to discuss what it’s like to see his books in English so long after their original publication.

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