Kembali 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival

The 2020 digitalized version of The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) – ‘Kembali 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20) will take place “globally” from a virtual headquarter in Ubud, Bali, 29 October until 08 November 2020.

KEMBALI20 will host 100 storytellers and culinary figures who will digitally join intimate discussions and powerful performances from 29 October – 8 November from their respective locations worldwide.

Founded by Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati – an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali – KEMBALI20 is an online celebration of literature, food, and culture. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati took the reluctant decision to transform its annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF) by creating KEMBALI20 in a digital format as a way to continually support Indonesia’s creative and culinary industries during these challenging times.

From Oakland to Oxford, Singapore to Sydney, Denpasar to Dubai, the full lineup of speakers testifies to the Festival’s cultural diversity. Through international digital links and face-to-face conversations in Bali – panel discussions, music and arts performances, cooking demos, and workshops -speakers will share their stories and enticing recipes.

“Bringing together some of the world’s most powerful voices in a melting pot of artists, authors, activists, entrepreneurs, performers, chefs, and culinary experts, KEMBALI20 is a platform for meaningful exchange and cross-cultural dialogue,” commented KEMBALI20 Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “A place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas, and concerns, our Festival transcends cultural and geographical borders to create a truly global community.”

Combining the best of two world-renowned international events – UWRF and UFF, KEMBALI20 will launch a “new era” hub for creativity, culture, food, literature, and ideas.

Along with the speakers’ lineup, the Festival sill also host an impressive list of main program sessions, workshops, and book launches. The Festival proudly welcomes Kevin Kwan, listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2018 and author of the international bestselling Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. He will discuss his future projects, including his latest novel, an instant New York Times Bestseller – Sex and Vanity.

Participating in discussing her latest book, Everything Inside, which won The National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Fiction 2019, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat will reflect on her work and life.

Joining the Festival’s extraordinary lineup is Barack Obama’s sister Maya SoetoroNg, the author of the highly-acclaimed children’s book Ladder to the Moon. She will discuss the significance of stories and arts for peacebuilding.

Also appearing on the Festival’s digital program is Richard Fidler, one of Australia’s most-loved voices and host of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s most popular podcast, Conversations.

Presenting Indonesian literature to the world will be Eka Kurniawan, the first Indonesian writer nominated for a Man Booker International Award. His session is supported by Writing WA. He’ll appear alongside one of Indonesia’s best-loved authors Dee Lestari, who will be part of an “in conversation session” and a culinary event.

One of the headliners for the Festival’s “culinary conversations” is Dr. Fenny Dwivany, a significant figure among Indonesian women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Her research into bananas with her team – The Banana Group, has broken barriers in female leadership in STEM.

Intrepid journalist Adam Leith Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters, will take listeners on a fascinating expedition into discovering some of the earth’s most desired fruits in locations from the wild jungles of Borneo to the orchards of Florida.

For foodies everywhere, joining KEMBALI20 cooking demos and culinary events are Chris Salans, one of Bali’s top culinary ambassadors with his pioneering French cuisine-meets-Balinese flavors; Co-founder of Pengalaman Rasa and advocate for Northen Balinese cuisines Ayu Gayatri Kresna; and international food journalist James Oseland with his highly acclaimed cookbook Cradle of Flavor.

Details of the program are available via the Festival Website

While the workshops are donation-based, the Festival’s digital Book Launches are free and accessible to all on its website and YouTube channel.

KEMBALI20 is a free and donation-based Festival with over 70 sessions available in a digital format, both pre-recorded and live-streamed, and via limited on the ground sessions for local audiences.

Janet DeNeefe added: “We want to stimulate the island’s economy and tourism sector since Bali is Indonesia’s hardest-hit region, but safety is and always will be our first priority. Join us to celebrate Indonesian cultural heritage and contemporary culture while rekindling hope and inspiration in extraordinary new ways with KEMBALI.”


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