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“Indonesia,” declares Lian Gouw, “is more than just the island of Bali.”
Gouw, at 82, is a diminutive figure with an outsize presence, gifted with a voice that commands attention and the masterful air of a seasoned impresario revealing The Next Great Thing.
That thing, on this sunny fall afternoon at the Foster City public library in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the literature of Indonesia, the country of her childhood and a passion that consumes her every waking hour (and a fair deal of the not-so-waking hours of her associates back home, some of them confide).
With the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair approaching, Indonesia is stepping up its preparation to exhibit its literature to the world.
The country was chosen to be the guest of honour at the event in Frankfurt, Germany, which will take place between Oct. 14 and 18 this year. It is the largest book fair in the world and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Feby Indirani was an accomplished TV journalist when she decided to become a full-time author. In DW interview, she talks about the potential of Indonesian literature and her own journey as a writer: DW
DW: In 2013, you decided to leave your job as a successful journalist for a life of uncertainty as a full-time writer. Were your family and friends happy with your decision?
Feby Indirani: Some of my friends were skeptical about my decision and called me crazy. They knew I had published some books, but quitting a stable job was quite shocking for many. When you are a TV producer and you host your own show, you are not expected to give it up for something as unconventional as writing. They asked me whether I was sure about my decision and wouldn’t be missing the TV glamour. Even after two years some people still ask those questions.
San Mateo-based publisher Lian Gouw is on a mission to tell the world about Indonesia.
“It’s my gift to my country,” says the founder and operator of Dalang Publishing, who is slated to lead a discussion about one of her titles, “My Name Is Mata Hari,” at Pacifica Sanchez Library on Friday.