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Ahmad Tohari

Award winning and acclaimed Indonesian author Ahmad Tohari was born on June 13, 1948 in Tinggarjaya, a village near the city of Banyumas in Central Java. Born into a large farming family, Ahmad carried the countryside he loved in his heart wherever work took him during his younger years. He voiced this love in his writing, which mostly centers on village life and morality. His father, a devout Muslim, passed his own strong beliefs to Ahmad, who sees himself as a progressive religious intellectual. He supports Islamic beliefs and laws while living in harmony among Indonesia’s diverse ethnic cultures and traditions.

Ahmad Tohari is a prolific writer and the author of numerous novels, two short story collections, and many other literary accomplishments. He is the recipient of the South East Asian Writers Award and was awarded a fellowship to the International Writing Program of Iowa City, Iowa. He is also a respected journalist who makes regular contributions to Suara Merdeka, the well-known Central Java newspaper, and Tempo, the established Indonesian weekly.

Ahmad Tohari is best known as the author of the trilogy, Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk (The Dancing Girl of Paruk Village), published by Gramedia in 2011. The novels have been translated into Dutch, English, German, and Japanese, and producer Shanty Harmain adapted the novels into the film, The Dancer. Tohari is also held in high regard for his knowledge of Javanese art. He currently lives near Purwokerto, where he runs an Islamic school with his family and is consultant for the regional office of the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Education. For a complete list of Ahmad Tohari’s published work, visit

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