LitBeat 2019: What's Next

Updated: Mar 15

On 2-3 September 2019, the 2nd edition of Litbeat or Literaction Festival was held at the National Library, Central Jakarta. Organized by the National Book Committee, with support from the Ministry of Education and Culture and Economy Creative Agency. Featuring more than 70 speakers and moderators both domestic and foreign, discussing various issues and themes in the publishing world, in several classes during the two days event.

Erlan Primansyah (front left), Laura Prinsloo (front center), Ari Juliano Gema (front right) pictured here along with the participants in one of LitBeat panels)

Litbeat 2019 carries the theme 'What's Next' in response to the change of landscape in the publishing world, such as the transition period from printed edition to digital.

"The development of the contemporary book industry, where books are not stand-alone media. The narratives told in each book may be crossed over into various media: film, music, culinary, fashion, design, and many others. These developments will be discussed in this year's LitBeat, "said Chair of the National Book Committee, Laura Bangun Prinsloo, at the National Library, Central Jakarta, Monday (2/9/2019).

This year’s theme, continued Laura, will invite book readers in Indonesia to tag along with the masterplan, on which way to go for the development of literacy in Indonesia. "What's Next brings us to the next tasks. Namely bringing literacy to belong to all levels of society, becoming a celebration that does not stop at the National Library and festivals alone," she said.

The head of the 2019 Litbeat Committee, Erlan Primansyah, also revealed that last year Litbeat brought 'Coffee Philosophy' as an example of a successful adaptation of the book to the big screen. "This phenomenon gives birth to media to many Intellectual Properties or IPs. This year we will have ‘Gundala’, a recently released movie that was adapted from a classic comic. We are always looking for the latest trends in the media, encouraging the book to cross over media. Not only in printed format but developed into more dynamic media”.

The 2019 Litbeat boasted an impressive list of speakers, including Ratih Kumala, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Leila S. Chudori, Nguyen Mahn Hung, Koko Hendri Lubis, Ni Made Purnamasari, Salman Faridi, Reda Gaudiamo, Emte, Mochtar Sarman, Grace Kusnadi, Lily Yulianti, Alberthine Endah to Yusi Avianto Pareanom.

LitBeat also discussed the possibility of making Jakarta as World Book Capital in 2022. The plan was revealed by Laura Prinsloo, during the opening remarks of the Litbeat Festival. "We interpret 'What's Next' by initiating and inviting all parties to make Jakarta a World Book Capital. This initiative and plan may seem ambitious. But it is not impossible to do".

According to Laura, many factors could allow Jakarta to go for the honor to be the WBC. There is a number of literacy festivals taking place in Jakarta including the Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF) to the Gramedia Writers and Readers Forum which has just been held.

Besides, there are also 189 public reading parks (data from the Jakarta library service), 299 local libraries, the event of the Big Bad Wolf, The Indonesia International Book Fair, the Islamic Book Fair, and Jakarta is also home to several big names in the Indonesian publishing industry.

In the same month, National Book Committee also organized the first Jakarta Fellowship Program, which opened publishers from Indonesia to connect, collaborate, and get closer to international publishers. On September 2-7, the National Book Committee facilitates an intensive program to allow collaboration between publishers. This year there are 6 publishers in pairs.

They are Lontar Foundation with Jentayu Edition (France), Falcon Publishing with Reading Sideways Press (Australia), Bhuana Popular Science with Jieli Publishing House (China), Asta Sciences with Singapore Asia Publishers (Singapore), Mizan Publishing with Agamee Prakashani (Bangladesh), and Kesaint Blanc with the Akdem Agency (Turkey).

This year LitBeat also has the honor of having Jakarta’s Governor, Anies Baswedan attends the opening ceremony and officially opened the event. He also stated his support of the event and the plan to become World Book Capital in 2022.

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