Nirwan Dewanto


Nirwan Dewanto is a poet, essayist, editor and curator. His poetry books, Jantung Lebah Ratu (Queen Bee’s Heart, 2008) and Buli-Buli Lima Kaki (Five-Footed Jug, 2010), received the Khatulistiwa Literary Award in the respective years. He has also written reviews on literary, visual and performing arts; and essays on their forms, genealogy and receptions, some of which of are collected in Senjalaka Kebudayaan (Twilight of Culture, new edition, 2017) and Satu Setengah Mata-Mata (One and Half Spies, 2016). He has participated in various residency programs, including the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the United States, and numerous international literary festivals. During his tenure as the editor of the literary pages in Koran Tempo daily (2002-2016), he published the works of young writers, many of whom are now prominent on the literary scene. His works have also appeared in various international journals such as “Stand”, “Asia”, and “Words Without Borders”.

Nirwan’s poems have been translated into various languages—Japanese, German, Chinese, Korean, and English, among others; Museum of Pure Desire (2017) is his poems in John McGlynn’s English translation. His Buku Merah (The Red Book, 2017) and Buku Jingga (The Orange Book, 2018) are novels that play in a very deconstructive, unprecedented way with various characters and motifs of the Javanese renditions of two Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Buku Jingga was named the best fiction book of 2018 by Tempo magazine for its radical “satire and acrobatics based on classical sources” and for “its form that explores the liminal areas of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.”