The theme of the 2022 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is Uniting Humanity. In this conversation with Claire Nichols, writers Alton Walley, Siang Lu and Clarissa Goenawan offer their various perspectives on how writing and creative practice can help us to have richer conversations about race, deepen our appreciation for diverse cultures and unite humanity, one story at a time.
Siang Lu’s fiction and literary reviews have appeared in Southerly and Westerly. He holds a Master of Letters from the University of Sydney. He has written for television on Malaysia’s Astro network. In 2021, Siang won the Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer for The Whitewash. He has been the program manager for a global, multi-million-dollar initiative to deliver cutting edge AI solutions to the legal industry. He is based in Brisbane, Australia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer and translator. Her short stories have won several awards. Rainbirds, her debut novel, has been published in eleven different languages. Her second novel, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, came out in 2020. Watersong is her third novel.
Alton Walley is a Whadjuk, Wilman, Kaneang Nyoongar man from the South-West of Western Australia. Alton has been heavily immersed in his culture since he was a young boy, being fortunate enough to have access to, and engage with, a wealth of knowledgeable cultural figures. He has been dancing and playing music with the Middar dance group since he could walk, performing locally, nationally and internationally.
Claire Nichols is the host of The Book Show on ABC Radio National, a weekly podcast and radio show that features in-depth interviews with the best authors from around the world. She has spent more than a decade at the ABC, with roles in news, current affairs, local radio and at RN. She is the proud recipient of consecutive WA Media Awards for arts reporting.