Monday, June 27, 2011

Andrea Hirata

I wasn't able to gather much about Andrea Hirata. All that I can obtain about him was from his novels, an article from The Jakarta Post and pages vi - x of Padang Bulan (copied from chloe meslin cousteau). The details from these pages was what that had urged me to write to you about him.

                                            Picture taken from Sharing is Fun

Andrea Hirata is from the Island of Belitung, Indonesia. It is on this very island where the story of Laskar Pelangi took place. This first novel was actually written for his teacher.

“I always wanted to write her a book,” he says, leaning forward across the coffee table. “Ever since I was in the third grade, I had this profound image stored in my head: the rain was pouring down hard one morning and, holding a banana leaf over her head, Ms. Muslimah urged her students to come to school.
“It was incredible. So, I said to myself, ‘Some day I’m going to write her a book.’ And I did, many years later.” 
(Andrea Hirata: A Writer's Journey)

Andrea Hirata attended a postgraduate programme at Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom and had passed cum laude. His studies was sponsored by the European Union scholarship. He then did a research at Groningen, Holland and Sorbonne, Paris. He studied the development of pricing models, especially in the economic theory of communication. After that, he had worked in a financial institution at London before working in a telecommunication enterprise at Indonesia. However, he was not happy at both of the places. In the year 2010, he received a writing scholarship award from University of Iowa, USA.

Now, Andrea Hirata lives in Belitong Island with his parents. He spends his time in a cabin at the river banks and at the edge of his village without any phone line, internet and electricity. He also likes to day dream. At times, Andrea Hirata would volunteer teaching English and Mathematics to young children. He is also testing his voice at the mosque in order to be a muazzin.

After finishing his new book, Dwilogi Padang Bulan dan Cinta di Dalam Gelas, he plans to take care of a few cows in the hope that the cows will inspire  him to write more novels.

He'll only go out from the island to attend book festivals and overseas film.

Four of his books had been translated into English. Laskar Pelangi, his first book, will be translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, Korean and other Asian and European countries.
The below pictures are taken from chloe meslin cousteau.

What I'm inspired most by Andrea Hirata is that he had the opportunity to work in promising firms but instead, he chose this. He follows what he wants; day dreaming, write novels and be a volunteer teacher. I'm also in awe because it is very rare for a South East Asian writer to enter the international market; more so when the writer's books are translated into various languages.
It is because of his novels, Sang Pemimpi and Edensor that I dream to travel and learn about cultures and people. It is because of those novels (one of the reasons, actually) that I want to pursue my Masters in the UK but sadly...lets not get to that.

Andrea Hirata is a dreamer, a traveler, a learner, a contributor and a motivator... Despite all of that, he always puts his home at heart. MasyALLAH.

“I’m a small-town boy who comes from a traditional family on a tiny island called Belitung,” he says. “I may not know where I’m going, but I’ll always know where to come home to.”
(Andrea Hirata: A Writer's Journey)