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Author, Bruce Pascoe with Magabala Senior Editor, Rachael Christensen and Marketing Manager, Lisa Burton at the 2016 UWRF
A Bunurong, Tasmanian, and Yuin man – and award-winning author of Dark Emu – Bruce appeared as a key speaker on several panels throughout the five-day event, joining a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, speakers, thinkers, artists, advocates, commentators and activists from across the globe.
With a theme of Tat Tvam Asi, a Sanskrit phrase translated in Bali as ‘I am you, you are me,’ the emphasis of the 2016 UWRF program was on dissolving the social, cultural, political and geographical barriers that divide society through creation of space for intercultural exchange and connection in the form of panel sessions, literary lunches, hands-on workshops, food tours, poetry slams, and night parties.
In his first session, First Languages, Bruce shared the stage with fellow award-winning Indigenous Australian author, Ellen van Neerven and Indonesian authors, Made Sugianto and Triyanto Triwikromo to discuss the impact of one language upon another and the role of Indigenous language in their lives and art.
In The Ground Beneath our Feet, Bruce joined renowned Tibetan-Australian musician, Tenzin Choegyal and Indonesian poet, Warih Wisatsana in a powerful discussion of geography, body, and connection to country, and its influence on their work.
Following the festival, Bruce said his experience of the UWRF was unique in that it provided the opportunity to meet a wide spectrum of people from many different backgrounds.
“The chance to meet fellow Indigenous authors is always welcome but the range of speakers at this festival was broad and stimulating,” he said.
“Issues close to my heart were raised by several presenters and the discussions during and after the sessions was important for the investigation of Indigenous people’s concerns.”
The 14th UWRF will be held 25–29 October 2017, with the theme announced in February 2017.