Mochtar Lubis is one of the most well-respected names in Indonesian literature. Born on March 7, 1922 in Padang, he was also a world-renowned journalist who was a feisty crusader for the freedom of the press and an unwavering believer in universal humanism, truth, and justice. Lubis was active in the International Press Institute and the Press Foundation of Asia. He was the first Indonesian—and remains one of only three—to have received the esteemed Philippine Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism and Literature, in 1958. In 2000, the International Press Institute honored him in its list of 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.
Lubis is additionally recognized as one of the greatest literary figures Indonesia has ever produced. He wrote Senja di Jakarta, possibly his best-known work in the Western world, during his house arrest under the Soekarno government. The work was originally published in the UK by Hutchinson & Co. as Twilight in Jakarta in 1963, and is considered the first-ever Indonesian novel translated into English. The novel was then translated into Dutch, Malay, Italian, Spanish, and Korean prior to being released in Bahasa Indonesia in 1970. Since then it has also been translated into Japanese. Jalan Tak Ada Ujung, won a national literary award in 1952 and was translated into English as A Road with No End in 1968 by A.H. Johns and into Mandarin in 1988. He also founded a cultural and literary monthly, Horison, in 1966 and served as its editor for 36 years.
Mochtar Lubis passed away on July 2, 2004 in Jakarta after battling Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years.