Yogyakarta- I go home though I have no home, though the desire to go home is as strong as the desire to avoid it. I once promised not to come back, but memories of it curse me badly. The curse which brings a longing. The longing that defeats all, shame, conceit, and revenge. All along the road I am trembling, realizing that what I miss actually is the past.
That is a fragment of a novel entitled Jatisaba written by Ramadya Akmal, Jatisaba: Ethnography about Trafficking. The 348-page novel became one of the winners in the Novel Writing Contest held by the Jakarta Council of Arts (DKJ) year 2010, winning over 277 other novels. Ramadya Akmal, the writer of the novel, is the only woman and the youngest writer among three winners. Ramadya is a graduate in literature of Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM who is currently studying in Literature Science, Master Program, UGM.
According to Dr. Aprinus Salam, the reviewer of Jatisaba novel, several judges involved in this contest were Prof. Dr. Sapardi Djoko Damono, Anton Kurnia, and A.S. Laksana. According to Aprinus, one of the factors which makes Jatisaba win the contest is that the novel creates novelties in many aspects. The most important thing is the plot which is told from the point of view of the perpetrator. Jatisaba takes a different perspective from the common ones when responding to problems in life,” said Aprinus, Monday (21/2).
Aprinus explained that several literature experts who read this novel gave different emphases about the dominant theme, as seen in their endorsement. Poverty, love, politics, trafficking, moral, superstition, and social class are several themes that are portrayed. “However, all the themes actually end to the ethnographic reality which is very strong inside, in the frame of the life journey of an agent of trafficking,” he added.
Jatisaba has the setting of local geographic region of Banyumas in Java which is strong in ethnographic and traditional traits. This novel has the potential to become a novel which is inspiring, conceptual, deeply committed to reality and able to present smart solutions for humanity.
Ramadya Akmal was born in Cilacap, 5 May 1987. Jatisaba is the second novel of the graduate of literature of Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM. During her study, this author spent time more in academic activities. She had conducted several researches with UGM team or other research institutes such as Directorate of Higher Education, Indonesia Research Institute, regional governments, and several regencies in Indonesia.
Currently, studying at Graduate Program of Literature Science of UGM, the author also works as freelance teacher in several colleges in Yogyakarta and a researcher in Institute for Civil Empowerment (ICE), Yogyakarta. Her writings were published in Metahumaniora Journal (Unpad, 2009), Bunga Rampai Gurat Sastra dan Bahasa (UGM, 2009), IBDA journal (STAIN, 2010), Membaca Sinema Indonesia (UGM, 2011). Her research in LPPM UGM together with Dr. Aprinus Salam was published entitled Pahlawan dan Pecundang: Militer dalam Sastra Indonesia (LKiS, 2011). Ramayda’s short story is also published in anthology of Pewaris Keturunan (Kembang Merak, 2010).