IBBY-Yamada 2007: Indonesia

Publishing Workshop

Designed to equip the participants with basic knowledge and some of the skills needed to publish and distribute quality books for teenagers.In the era of globalization, the world of books in Indonesia must be prepared to face free trade where any publisher will be able to freely expand their business. 

Since 1980, the books for children and young adults in Indonesia are dominated by translations from America and Europe, Japanese comics. Recently, a trend has begun for teenagers to write novels and stories for children. Often novels for teenagers are published and sold at 10,000 copies, and even many movies are based on the teenagers’ novel. This trend attracts many young people to write stories. Unfortunately, the international audience recognizes only a handful of stories written by Indonesian authors.

In order to compete in international market, the authors of Indonesia must be equipped not only with writing capabilities, but also with other skills such as global issue awareness. Writing novels that touch these global issues has yet to emerge in Indonesia’s books, where the theme of most novels is love. 

On the basis of this background the Indonesian Board Books for Young People (INABBY) supported by IBBY in 2007 organized an activity entitled Workshop of Novel Writing for Young Writers. This workshop was held in State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta in cooperation with the Non Government Organization (NGO) the Society for Advancement of Children Literature (SACL). The workshop was designed to encourage writing that emphasize the themes that relate to global issues, such as gender and discrimination issues, children and young people who are trapped in war, conflict or hostility situations, children and young people who live in asylum, and children and young people who fight against AIDS. 

Objective of the Workshop

The objectives of this workshop were

  • To raise the young writers' awareness of writing that touches on global issues; 
  • To enhance the quality of novel writing;
  • To enhance the knowledge of people who work in the publishing industry of writing on global issues;
  • To enhance the knowledge of teachers in teaching creative writing to their students.

Time and Venue

The workshop was held on 12-13 April 2007 at Syahida Inn, Jl. Kerta Mukti Kampus II State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta and it was followed by a general study and workshop in UIN Yogyakarta on 16 – 17 April 2007.

Resource Persons

Resource persons for this workshop were the well-known writer from Canada, Deborah Ellis and local expert in Children's Literature Murti Bunanta.


Participants came from different education, background and places. There were students, lecturers, teachers, authors, editors, and people who interested in writing. There were 55 participants in Jakarta and 440 for the general study in Yogyakarta and around 40 for the workshop. 

Workshop Implementation

The workshop began with an opening ceremony, President of INABBY, Dr. Murti Bunanta gave the welcome speech followed by the speech of Counselor Political & Public Affairs Embassy of Canada, Mr Weldon Epp. The workshop is officially opened by the rector of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Prof. Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat.

After the opening ceremony Deborah Ellis began the programme by introducing herself and telling the participants about her writing experience. Most of her writing is from what she has experienced during travelling to several countries. To break the ice and create friendly atmosphere each participant of the workshop gave short introduction told the others about his/her reason for attending the workshop. Most of the reasons were that they wanted to improve their quality of writing. 

During the two-day workshop, the participants were asked to actively write. Some of the exercises included were to write about their most memorable experiences, which involved intense emotion such as joy, madness, happy moments during their childhood, writing about the conflict heard in everyday life, and writing the first chapter of a novel. After each exercise, participant would read and share their work. Resource persons, Deborah Ellis and Murti Bunanta gave responses and input for enhancing the quality of writing. Most of the participants were enthusiastic and enjoyed the workshop. Discussion continued during tea breaks and lunch hours. 

At the end of workshop session, Deborah Ellis gave information and the procedure for sending manuscripts to publishers. Participants who were professional editors in well-known publishing houses also shared their experiences and give tips, as well as courage, to the young authors about how to present their work and get published.