UWRF 2017 drew to a close last night, having passed all too quickly. Despite the quandary about whether to stage the festival while Mt Agung was rumbling, the festival was a resounding success, with lively panels and well-attended sessions across the board.


Here are some portraits of festival participants, from our guest photographer Suki Zoe.


(Yes, Rio was busy with Mt Agung relief when not moderating or speaking on panels or planning his fundraising event!)


Former UN Person of the Year, Marina Mahathir (Malaysia) wowed audiences with her quiet dignity , fierce intelligence and heartfelt activism around feminism and Islam.

Known for his comic touch, Nury Vittachi (Hong Kong / Sri Lanka) can always be counted on to deliver wildly funny panels, no matter which literary star he happens to be interviewing.

Carmen Boullosa (Mexico) is a major literary figure in Mexico, with a whopping 17 novels under her belt.

The leading dancer-choreographer of his generation, Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia) wowed audiences with a performance by his dancers at Antonio Blanco’s.

Writer and journalist Shokoofeh Azar (Iran) had to flee her homeland after being imprisoned, and wound up in Perth, Australia. She writes magic realist novels about Iran, that bring beauty, and the Persian imagination, to dark issues.

David Palazon (Spain) launched his book on Timor-Leste, ‘Timor Runguranga’ at Rio Helmi Gallery, along with a photo exhibition from the book which stayed up for the duration of the festival.

Literary doyenne, Jung Chang (China), author of the memoir ‘Wild Swans’, which has sold more copies than any other memoir in history. She discussed the ancient tradition of foot binding in China, and brought with her her grandmother’s slipper, the size of a young child’s foot.



Words by Catriona Mitchell

Photos by Suki Zoe