Balinese authors awarded Rancage

Two respected Balinese authors have been awarded Rancage, the prestigious literary prize initiated by West Java’s influential author Ajip Rosidi. I Wayan Westa was honored for his short story compilation Tutur Bali (Balinese Counsel) while Prof. Dr. I Gusti Made Sutjaja was honored for his scholarly works, as well as his dedication to the development of the Balinese language. Rancage is an annual award initially bestowed for best works in West Java’s Sundanese language.

It later evolved into the country’s sole literary accolade for works written in ethnic languages. This year the Rancage for Sundanese literature enters its 26th year, while for Javanese literature it is its 21st year, Balinese literature its 18th year and Lampung literature its 4th year. The chairman of the award committee, Ajip, revealed that there were 19 literary books in the Balinese language published in 2013, more than double the number in the previous year.

The books included eight plays, novels, poetry anthologies and short story anthologies. These publications were the materials considered for the award. The selection committee disclosed that seven books caught their attention. They were two novels, Benang-benang Samben (Samben’s Threads) by IGG Djelantik Santha and Sing Jodoh (Not Meant to Be) by I Made Sugianto; two poetry anthologies, Padang Tuh (Dry Grasses) by Tudekamatra and Ngantih Bulan (Spinning the Moon); and three short-story anthologies, Tutur Bali by I Wayan Westa, Nguntil Tanah Nulengek Langit by I Made Suarsa, and Bulan Stawak by Agus Sutrarama.

Ajip praised Tutur Bali for its powerful and clear language. It comprises 44 short stories that deal with various issues, from terrorism to HIV/AIDS. “It would be very good if this book could be included as reading material in schools because it presents local wisdoms in a way that will strengthen the students’ character,” Ajip said. The second recipient, Sutjaja, is a lecturer at Udayana University and a passionate lexicographer, who for years has compiled a Balinese dictionary, as well as Balinese to English and Japanese dictionaries.

He received his master and doctorate degrees at the University of Sydney in Australia. Member of Rancage selection committee, Prof. Dr. I Nyoman Darma Putra, revealed that 2013 was a very productive year for Balinese literature. “In the last 100 years, there has never been a year like 2013, when the number of published books in the Balinese language reached 19. It casts away our concerns that modern Balinese literature is a dying field.”

He also pointed out that two authors being shortlisted for Rancage, poet Tudekamatra (the pen name of I Putu Gede Raka Prama Putra) and Agus Sutrarama, were born in 1990 and 1984, respectively, which clearly showed that Balinese language was still an interesting medium of expression among the youngsters.

source : bali daily

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