2017 - Shortlisted
Jennifer Lindsay’s many years in Indonesia form the basis of her wide knowledge of local cultural, political and social life. One of the few Australians thus equipped, she conveys a profound understanding of our close but radically different neighbour. Chief among her accomplishments are her translations of essays — in turn reflective, incisive and generous — by Goenawan Mohamad, an internationally influential commentator with a broad cosmopolitan outlook who identifies deeply with his native culture.
Lindsay’s versatility is displayed in her appealing translations of contemporary poetry and fiction. Pariyem’s Confession is a performative, lyrical and narrative poem in the voice of a young woman who works as a maid yet possesses a strong conviction of her own human dignity. Drawing on traditional and modern idiom, it leavens formal statements asserting her name and origins with passages expressing her sometimes disrespectful views on society. For Nadira, stories about a very different young woman, similarly echoes the difficulties and aspirations of contemporary life.