• Special Program



    May 02, 2017 - August 17, 2017

Novels provide psychological enrichment, as well as unique perspectives into the human life and the world. Reading and comparing Indonesian novels against foreign novels can also provide us with knowledge and insights. Komunitas Salihara hopes to help sharpen the intellectuality of our younger generation through:

A Competition of Literary Criticism for High School Students

Comparing the novel Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo (Mexico) with Bukan Pasar Malam by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Indonesia).

We will make a formal announcement of this program on National Education Day, May 02, 2017 to commence until its closing on Sumpah Pemuda Day, October 28, 2017.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Participants are high school (SMA) students formed into groups of 3 (three) to 7 (seven) students. Each school may send more than one group. Participants are invited to give creative names for their respective groups.
  • Groups/schools unable to access the required books may contact the competition organizer via email to We will forward to you the literary texts in question.
  • As a group, participants will compare the two works and compose a critical review, in the Indonesian language.
  • The aim of literary comparison is not to conclude which work is better, but to seek or discover rich contrasts in both works and their social-cultural-political contexts.
  • Please send in the reviews along with a short profile of each groupmember, and a formal approval letter from the group’s respective school (scanned) to:

Email: with the subject line: Kompetisi Kritik Sastra Tingkat SMA_(schoool/group’s name). Hard copies must then be mailed to Komunitas Salihara, Jl. Salihara 16 Pasar Minggu Jakarta 12520 U.P. Program Komunitas Salihara, by August 17, 2017 (date of email and postmark) at the latest.

  • First Stage of the jurying process will evaluate each review based on the quality of arguments, depth of understanding, as well as the grammar and linguistic style (aesthetics) of their review/text.
  • The competition organizer will invite finalist groups to participate in a live presentation of their review and debate session in Jakarta, on October 28, 2017.
  • Each shortlisted (finalist) group may choose their own style of presentation, with either a single-person speaker, or taking turns to present materials.
  • Second Stage of the jurying process will evaluate the group’s ability to convey ideas verbally, the quality of their presentation, and the way they defend their arguments in a debate setting.
  • Results and judge’s decisions are final.

About Pedro Paramo and Bukan Pasar Malam

The year 2017 is the centenary of Juan Rulfo, the Mexican literary writer. He is widely considered as the pioneer of the Latin American magical realism genre that is well known throughout the world. Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most famous magical realist writers, was greatly influenced by Rulfo’s short novel, Pedro Paramo. The novel tells of a man who goes in search of his father but his travels soon turn into a surrealist adventure. Pedro Paramo is required reading in schools across Latin America.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer is considered one of Indonesia’s greatest writers. His books convey a consciousness of independence and humanity. Ironically, he was sentenced to exile in Pulau Buru by Soeharto’s regime due to his works, which were banned from circulation even after he was released. One of his ‘shorter’ novels is Bukan Pasar Malam, also tells the story of a man who is compelled to go and meet his father.

Pramoedya and Rulfo were born in the same era, with only an eight-year difference between them. Mexico in Latin America and Indonesia in Southeast Asia can be compared with each other as well: both lie on the southern hemisphere, experienced colonization and engaged in a bitter fight for freedom and progress; both acutely experienced the effects of the Cold War, and have witnessed the interactions and intermingling of local and migrant cultures. And yet, Pramoedya and Rulfo have their own unique literary strategies, which are very interesting to see and examine.

LIFEs 2017
Along with our partners, Komunitas Salihara proudly presents a festival of literature and ideas, LIFEs—a new name and format for Salihara’s Literary Biennale. This year’s theme is Viva! Reborn! focusing on “reading Latin America”.