23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Laksmi Pamuntjak
© Ali Ghandtschi

Laksmi Pamuntjak

Laksmi Pamuntjak was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1971. After already writing her first stories at age six, she won her first national literary prize at the age of eight. In 2001, she co-founded Aksara Bookstore in Jakarta. Pamuntjak has written for numerous Indonesian publications such as the »Jakarta Post« and the newsmagazine »Tempo«, as well as international publications such as »Kulturaustausch« and »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«. Today she writes opinion articles for the »Guardian«. As a translator, she edited and translated »Selected Poems« (2004) and »On God and Other Unfinished Things« (2004) by the Indonesian poet and essayist Goenawan Mohamad, and wrote the foreword to »Not a Muse: International Anthology of Women’s Poetry« (2008).
Pamuntjak’s own poems and short stories have been published in numerous international journals. She published an extended essay on violence and Homer’s »Iliad« entitled »Perang, Langit dan Dua Perempuan« (2006; tr: War, Heaven and Two Women); a collection of short stories on paintings entitled »The Diary of R.S.: Musings on Art« (2006); three volumes of poetry, »Ellipsis« (2005), »The Anagram« (2007) and »There are Tears in Things« (2016), as well as four editions of the first independent good food guide to Jakarta known as »The Jakarta Good Food Guide« series. In 2012 Pamuntjak published her first novel »Amba«. It was a finalist of the 2013 Khatulistiwa Literary Award and was translated into several languages. In a modern interpretation of the Indonesian national epic »Mahabharata«, the lovers Amba and Bishma become separated during a riot that breaks out at a demonstration against the coup by General Suharto. Decades later, Amba seeks clues to whereabouts of her lost lover on the prison island of Buru, where he is believed to have been taken, to find answers to the questions that have tortured her for years. Surrounding this individual narrative, Pamuntjak reveals the panorama of a young nation and its tumultuous 20th century history between the colonial period and independence, dictatorship, and democracy. Literary critic Bambang Sugiharto described the novel as one of his country’s greatest. In 2016, »Alle Farben Rot«, the German translation of »Amba«, won the German LiBeraturpreis. In 2014, Pamuntjak published her second novel, »Aruna dan Lidahnya« (2014; Eng. »The Birdwoman’s Palate«, 2018), about an epidemiologist whose true passion is eating. The movie adaptation of the novel is slated for release in September 2018. In her 2018 novel »The Fall Baby«, a sequel to »Amba«, Pamuntjak portrays how the past influences the identity of a woman who wanders between the worlds of Indonesia and Europe, between tradition and modernity.


Aruna dan Lidahnya
Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Jakarta, 2014
Alle Farben Rot
Berlin, 2015
[Ü: Martina Heinschke]
There Are Tears in Things
Poetry and Prose (2001–2016)
Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Jakarta, 2016
The Birdwoman’s Palate
Amazon Crossing
Seattle, 2018
Berlin, 2018
[Ü: Corinna Rodewald]