TEXT and PHOTOS: Stefano Romano
The 52nd edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair took place from March 30 to April 2. More than 57,000 between illustrators, authors, exhibitors, operators, teachers and visitors from 98 countries around the world participated in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the Weekend of Young Readers 2015. The only Children’s Book Fair, reserved for sector operators, has been visited by over 35,000 people, an increase of over 15% on 2014 and a + 10% of foreign visitors, confirming the global leadership of the Book Fair Bologna Children, with over 1,200 exhibitors from 77 countries around the world.
Besides, on 14-18 October Indonesia will be the Guest of Honour of the big Frankfurt Book Fair 2015.
In Bologna’s Fair the delegation comes as government committee for the Frankfurt Fair under the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, and these are the words of the Minister Anies R. Baswedan to introduce Indonesia for the fist time in the Children’s Book Fair: “We are grateful to be able to participate in this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair and be chosen to as the Guest of Honour in the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair 2015.
It will be a perfect opportunity for us to share our stories through our literatures, from the intriguing to the inspiring. As we believe you will experience through our literatures the collective imagination that realized and upholds a dynamic nation, we see it’s only fit that our theme for the upcoming event is “17.000 Islands of Imagination”. And Goenawan Mohamad, Director of the Indonesia National Committee for the Guest of Honour Program, says: “For Indonesia, to be the Guest of Honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair is to jump into the circle of visibility. Indonesia, especially its works of contemporary arts and literature, is virtually out of sight in Germany and the rest of Europe. Indonesia, an “imagined community” despite of differences, is basically a perpetual dialogue, the 17.000 islands are linked by constant cultural exchanges – and cultural changes. For Indonesia, the 2015 Bologna Children’s and Frankfurt Book Fairs are windows to offer such an intellectual and artistic landscape. We cannot promise you a spectacular event, but at least our presence may invite you to a new difference. Or a new imagination”.
YULIANI LIPUTO – Rights Sales Coordinator, National Committee for Indonesia. Yuliani Liputo was editor for Mizan from 1994 until 2000, after completing her studies in Geodetic Engineering in Bandung Institute of Technology, then she took a break of ten years to start a family to start again as head of the Foreign Rights Department at Mizan Publishing and also for the National Committee for Indonesia as Guest of Honour Country at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. She says: “In this year, we have sold the rights of Indonesian authors, about thirty, for Pakistan, Australia and Malaysia. in this Bologna’s Fair, many publishers require Islamic books for children, this is our strength.” www.islandsofimagination.id
LUCYA ANDAM DEWI – IKAPI. Ibu Lucya Dewi represent the IKAPI – Ikatan Penerbit Indonesia (Association of Indonesia Publisher) in the Fair. Since 1990 Ibu Lucya Dewi has started to venture into the world of publishing as the founder of Bumi Aksara Publisher. Her role in the world of publishing and her involvement in the IKAPI, started in the year 2002 by becoming The Head of Fir Department and Publication. From 2003 to 2007, she was the Chairman of IKAPI Jakarta, and from 2007 to 2010 she served as the Chairman of Advisory Council IKAPI DKI Jakarta. Now she is the Chairman of IKAPI for the period 2010-2015 and also the Chairman of ABPA for the period 2013-2015. She will represent Indonesia now in Bologna, and after this also in London and Frankfurt. “Take the authors and books to make them global, this is the purpose, and the most important message of my role as President of IKAPI: spread the Indonesian culture in the world.”
SITI GRETIANI – General Manager GRAMEDIA. Siti Gretiani strated her career in book publishing a san editor for nonfiction. She took Stanford Professional Publishing Course at Stanford University, USA in 1994 and was a recipient of 1998 Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowship Program. Currently she serves as General Manager at Gramedia Pustaka Utama. “This year, as Gramedia, we published almost eight hundred titles, most in Indonesian language and someone in English. From last three years Gramedia has also started to produce digital books.” When asked about the fate of libraries in Indonesia, as in Italy the small bookshops closed across the excessive power of large bookstore chains and shopping malls, she replied that, unfortunately, also in Indonesia small bookshops are closing. While seeking new ways to survive, such as coffee bookstore. Anyway, Siti is proud to say that during the recent Islamic Book Fair has sold more than 1,200 copies in five days of the new book by Tere Liye “Bulan“. She is sure that now Indonesia is ready for the world, with title as Laksmi Pamuntjak, Leila S. Chudori and she also was happy to find translated in Italian language the book of Eka Kurniawan “Lelaki Harimau”, “L’uomo Tigre”. www.gramediapustakautama.com
ARLEEN AMIDJAJA (Author). One of the most important author of Gramedia is the writer Arleen Amidjaja. Born in Indonesia, Arleen is a mother of two. She has a thirteen years-old and a five years-old son. Arleen started writing children books in 2004. At that time, she found it quite challenging to find good children books at affordable prices in Jakarta. Her first books were published in 2005. In the past ten years, she had written more than 220 children books and 10 adult novels via more than 20 publishers. This year she is celebrating her 10th year anniversary as a published writer. Raised as a bilingual in a multicultural nation, most of her books are bilingual. Some of her books had become bestsellers (“I Love You Mom”, “Kingdom Tales Collection”, “Motivate Your Kids the Right Way” and “Animal Tales Collection”) and some had also been published in Malaysia, Vietnam and India. [email protected]
CLARA Ng (Author). Clara was born in Jakarta, and went study at the Ohio State University majoring in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. She spent seven and a half years in the US before deciding to go back home to Indonesia in 1999. She independently published her first novel in 2002 “Tujuh Musim Setahun”. Since then, she has publi9shed fifteen adult fiction. She began to write children stories in 2004. Her children book series, “”Berbagi Cerita Berbagi Cinta”consist of seven books, on of which, “Gaya Rambut Pascal”, received an Adikarya IKAPI award from the IKAPI for best children book in 2006. Now a full-time writer, Clara Ng keeps developing numerous ideas to be put into books: Adult fiction, children books, even biography. Not only occupied herself in writing, Clara promotes “literature enlightening” and “story telling parents” campaigns to various schools throughout Indonesia.
This is her first time in Italy, she says: “Now my big passion is children’s literature, but I do it slowly because it’s very important to me, I do it with care, I don’t write much for the industry literature, indeed I don’t like this current “moral literature” for children in Indonesia. I don’t like that the moral controls the literature, I consider this the “black and white” literature, this is not art for me. Certainly, this does not mean that my stories are “amoral,” but I feel frustration in the world of children’s literature in Indonesia.” To explain me what she means, she tell about her book “I can fly” of 2007: “When I presented my idea to my publisher Gramedia, in 2007, they said that this story was not marketable. The story of a hippo who goes to school and then discovers that he can fly, and happily he tells to his animal friends but they do not believe him, then the hippo tries to show that he can fly but can not and cries, becomes sad. He tells to his grandfather who tells him the secret: he can fly only if he is happy, everyone can fly. But the publisher was confused because the moral of the story is that if you are happy you can fly, but there is no prescription for happiness. Anyway the publisher has accepted the publication.” If you ask what is the recipe for happiness for her, Clara answers without waiting: the knowledge!
Her ideal readers are children from seven to eleven years old, and also on the language in which to write she has clear ideas, she writes bilingual but prefers to write in her mother language so that children don’t lose control with their own language. Her last book for children was in 2008 “As if the earth stood still”, the story of a child full of sadness because cancer patient. Why a theme so strong for the kids? “To teach them to have empathy for the problems of life”. She writes also articles about children’s literature in magazine and newspaper. [email protected]
ANA P. DEWIYANA – Editor in Chief Mizan Pelangi and Author. Ana Dewiyana is writer and editor for Pelangi Mizan born in Majalengka. She start as author in 2000, writing children’s book and adult novel as self-publisher and for her blog. She is also write poems and flash fiction. Ana already attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014. She really love to write for children and she loves children: “In Indonesia there are a lot of books for children but still not so much interactive books.” For Ana is really important the idea of knowledge, and she fells so close with children of kampong and village: “In the big cities the children have a lot but often they are still not happy, while in the kampong children don’t have much but they are happy in the nature, they learn from nature and the sea. For me the most important thing is to learn from the adventure, learn from life, nature and travel the world: this should make the children. About this Fair of Bologna, Ana says: “I like to see the books with unique features, see the books full of character of the individual countries. I love countries like Iran and Korea for technology and France and Italy for the style. However, like Indonesia, we are ready to conquer the world”. www.pelangimizan.com
RAHMADIYANTI RUSDI – Mizan Group. Rahmadiyanti spent two years working as a librarian after she graduated from University of Indonesia with a BA in Library and Information Science, then she became a journalist. She has been working at Mizan Group (Lingkar Pena Publishing House and Noura Books) for almost seven years now. Promotion and Marketing for Noura Books from 2012 and as Chief Editor for Mizan group from 2008, and she is also writer of ten books. In the last year Noura Books has published almost 200 titles in Indonesian language and two in English about Islam, but the purpose is to become global. So they start also to publish bilingual books, like “Sepatu Dahlan” three episode by Iwok Aqbary and illustrated by Gina. The children books in bilingual start this year, even if the Children Division already exist, and they want improve this new wave of bilingual children and Islamic books like the new series “Spooky Stories”. The Best-sellers of last year 2014\15 was a novel from USA, a fantasy of Rick Riordan and as Indonesian authors: Ayah Edy with “Menjawab” and “Rahasia Ayah”, “Menikah untuk Bahagia” by Indra Noveldy and “Indonesia X-Files” of Dr. Abdul Mun’im Idris. www.noura.mizan.com
LAURA PRINSLOO – PT. Kesaint Blanc Indah. Laura is the President Director of PT Kesaint VBlanc Indah and also Exhibition and Events Coordinator for the Book Committee. PT Kesaint Blanc Indah is a publishing and printing company based in Indonesia from 1979 and she was part of owner from 2010. She has also been appointed as the President Director of PT Jakarta Pallet Service, Indonesia’s 2nd largest pallet rental company, in January 2015. She received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Waikato and then continued with a Masters of Commerce in Economics with Honors from the University of Auckland. “We have more than 1000 titles in eighteen languages: kids books, DVD, storybooks. All books are about to learn languages, and the purpose to be here in Bologna is to sell our copyrights in other countries, because in many countries there are still no specific books for learning languages” Laura says. “As Indonesian delegation, this is our big chance to reach the world market for children’s books, because also in Indonesia this is now the biggest market, and we have great authors and illustrators which may compete in the world.” [email protected]
IRA ANINDITA – Pesona Edu. Ira Anindita is the Marketing Manager of Pesona Edu who offers educational contents for mathematic and science. They start to work as team in 1986 in Jakarta, developing from floppy disk and DVD. Their target are the schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, teaching – with interactive digital books – math and science in funny way. They offer also their contents in Indonesian, English and Dutch languages. Ira says: “1900 schools in Netherland already used our “AmazingEdu”, and also in Singapore.” They also offer digital contents selling as rights.
DINIARTY PANDIA – Gramedia Pustaka Utama. Diniarty Pandia graduated from Faculty of Letters, University of Indonesia, Jakarta and has been working at Gramedia Pustaka Utama, first as a translator, and since 2002 as an editor. She’s mostly the editor of children and young adult books like Indonesian translation of Tintin, Jonathan Stroud, Christopher Paolini, John Green and Gayle Forman.
SWETA KARTIKA – Illustrator. Being a comic artist and illustrator in Sweta Kartika’s dream since childhood. He was born in 1968, and raised by an artistic father in a small town in Kebumen, Central Jawa. After carrying out his primary and secondary formal education for 12 years, Sweta continued his studies in the Department of Visual Communication Design of Bandung Institute of Technology for 4 years. After completing his undergraduate studies in 2008, he kept on working as a freelance comic illustrator while returning back to Bandung Institute of Technology to achieve his Master Degree in Design in 2011. Currently, Sweta is active in the Indonesian comic industry as a comic artist and non-academic instructor from one community to another, teaching techniques and procedures to make good comic books with a module called Comic Sense.
Along with three colleagues, Sweta is in charge of comic and illustration division of Vanara Studio. And with six other friends, he routinely works on Nusantaranger comic books. Indeed, he does his best to make his dreams in inspiring the world with the traditional arts of the Indonesian archipelagos come true. Until now he has only one pilot story “Wanara”, an online publication, and he also public his comics on his Facebook every Monday and Thursday from 2011. He brings his inspiration from many artist and Deviant.Art, for Sweta the best artists are the Japanese. His own best work until now is “Sherlock Holmes.
CHRIS LIE – Animator. Chris Lie has been working on various comic books, cover arts, illustrations, toys design and concept art since finishing up his master’s degree in Sequential Art in Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005. Intended to nurture young talents in his home country, he founded Caravan Studio in 2008. In its young age, the studio has done works for major names in the entertainment industry, such as Penguin Publishing, Sony Online, Hasbro, Mattel, Marvel Comics and many more. In 2013 he establishes re:ON Comics, a periodical comic magazine, with its goal to promote local comic artists and become the pioneer in building the comic industry in Indonesia. Utilizing both printed and online publications, re:ON Comics now has the largest print-run, distribution channels and loyal communities for Indonesian comic. www.caravanstudio.com
Both Chris and Sweta present a “Showcase on Indonesian illustrations” during the Fair, and the Indonesian delegation offers also talk-shows with their authors. Waiting the next step in Frankfurt, where Indonesia will be the Guest of Honour.