Jul 19 2011
The Ubud Writers Festival takes place at an array of venues across Ubud, several of them overseen by Festival organiser Janet De Neefe: Indus, Casa Luna and Bar Luna, for instance. Being restaurants, however, these are venues that you can visit even when an author isn’t holding court. And at Bar Luna on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 20:00, literary events take place year-round. So if you’re not going to be here during the festival this year, but you are staying in Ubud and have a literary bent, you can get a sort of flavour of what the festival is like by dropping in.
We’ve been to two events to date: a reading by Swiss author Zoe Jenny, and a conversation with former Moon guidebook publisher Bill Dalton. Both events were full houses, well-organised and interesting — aside from the discussions being good, the waitstaff and kitchen did a great job of feeding and serving the hungry crowd as discreetly as possible.
As an example of what else you can expect: last week, Erwin Arnada, former editor of Playboy Indonesia was scheduled to speak in conversation with Rudolf Dethu; tonight Marcus Berg, the brains behind Swedish band Kultiration was to perform a solo acoustic set, and on Thursday July 21, Elizabeth Henzell is hosting a Love Jam, which isn’t as icky as it perhaps sounds. For this monthly event, it’s open mike for anyone who would like to read words of love, theirs or someone else’s.
A word about the food as Bar Luna: it’s good. Very good. A favourite of mine is the simple grilled chicken salad, which is taken to another level thanks to kaffir lime leaf in the dressing (35,000 rupiah). Most meals are light and less than 50,000 rupiah. But a word of warning about happy hour, which runs from 17:00 to 20:00 and is buy one cocktail, get one free: I ordered just before 20:00, checked that it was still happy hour, and when I asked for my second drink after 20:00 was told it was over! So order early.
Meanwhile, if you are planning on attending the festival and want to read up ahead of time, here’s a shortlist of books about Bali to get you started, and the main Ubud Writers and Readers Festival site is here.
Jalan Gootama, Ubud
T: (0361) 971 832
Open daily, 08:00–23:00
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