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 www.ahmadtohari.com
Hayat Indriyatno is the managing editor of the Jakarta Globe, an English-language newspaper in Jakarta, having fallen into journalism quite by accident.
An engineer by training, he was born and raised in Tanzania, going to a school near the house where Roald Dahl once lived, and professes a special affection for the works of the world’s greatest children’s author. He went on to earn a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Natal, Durban, in South Africa.
At age 24 Hayat decided to move to Indonesia, the land of his father’s birth, and was immediately smitten by the novelty of it all. A chance encounter led to a newspaper job, and another presented him with the opportunity to translate into English a book by the award-winning author Okky Madasari. He hasn’t looked back since.
At home, Hayat has a wife and three young children, for whom he has made the wisest investment any parent can make: a box set of Dahl.