The Arts

Seno Gumira Ajidarma

Breaking the barriers between journalism and literature, Seno Gumira Ajidarma is one of the most important and honest writers in Indonesia


One of the most widely read writers in Indonesia, Seno Gumira Ajidarma has done it all: essays, short-story compilations, novels, poetry, movie scripts and journalistic reports. With more than 30 books under his belt, he has amassed a huge number of awards from local and international bodies.

Ajidarma’s novels and short stories are influenced by his journalistic training, with their often critical takes on sensitive, real-world issues with cultural, social or political undertones. His more controversial works include his novel Jazz, Parfum dan Insiden (Jazz, Perfume and the Incident), which was written in 1996 about military violence in East Timor. Similarly, he wrote about state violence in his short-story collection The Mysterious Marksman.

In 1997, Ajidarma was awarded the South-East Asian Write Award for his collection of work as well as the Dinny O’Hearn Prize for Literary Translation for his compendium of short stories Eyewitness. At present, he is the head of Akademi Jakarta, an advisory board to the Governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, that awards and recognises those in the field of art and culture.

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Ajidarma started writing in 1974, when he was still a teenager in high school. He started working as a journalist first before becoming a novelist, when he was 19 years old.

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