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‘Buru Island: A Prison Memoir’ now available for English readers


The English translation of Buru Island: A Prison Memoir by Indonesian author Hersri Setiawan has been released by Monash University Publishing.

Translated by Jennifer Lindsay, Buru Island: A Prison Memoir is the final book in the Herb Feith Translation series, a program that publishes high-quality non-fiction books not previously available in English.

Coordinated by Kate McGregor and Jemma Purdey, the series highlights the mass violence in Indonesia that happened between 1965 and 1966.

Buru Island: A Prison Memoir was first published in Indonesian in 2004. The book follows Hersri’s life leading up to and during his detention on Buru Island, a remote prison camp in Maluku, during the New Order regime.

Born in 1936, Hersri is a former tapol (political prisoner). He was detained for nine years, following his participation in left-wing cultural organization Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat (Lekra).

Read also: Documentary provides different angle on the 1965 tragedy

Hersri spent seven years on Buru Island. According to a statement received by The Jakarta Post, the book is said to bring into stark light the horrors of the period after 1965, which included disappearances, murder, torture, betrayal and loss, and his own capture and incarceration on Buru Island.

Purdey said the editors had been aware of this book for some time.

“Both series editors were familiar with Hersri and his work and the significant contribution of Buru Island makes to the growing body of literature on the ‘1965 violence’, especially as an exemplary personal testimonial,” said Purdey.

Buru Island: A Prison Memoir is available for purchase through Monash University Publishing’s online store and in bookstores throughout Australia. (kes)

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