Pramoedya Ananta Toer

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Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Pramoedya_Ananta_Toer’s Biography

He started working as a journalist, but his favorable opinions to the Indonesian nationalist movement during the war of independence took him to jail for the first time between 1947 and 1949.

But after independence, in 1960 he was again imprisoned for a year without trial by the government of Sukarno for having denounced the political discrimination against the Chinese community in Indonesia.

He was arrested for the third time (from 1965 to 1979), already during the Suharto dictatorship that caused nearly one million deaths. He was accused of being a member of LEKRA, a leftist intellectual group, and was sentenced, without trial or trial, to the terrible penal colony on the island of Buru, east of Indonesia. His manuscripts and books were burned by the authorities in the mid-sixties. Before and during his imprisonment in 1965 he wrote more than thirty literary works. Already confined, he conceived a quartet of novels called The Buru Quartet. The writer was denied pencils or pens, but said that he told stories so often to his fellow prisoners that once released all he did was put a pencil to the paper and the words flowed.

The four novels that make up The Quartet of Buru are his best known works: “Human Earth”, “Son of all peoples”, “Towards tomorrow” and “The glass house”. When the restrictions on communications from the tapol (political prisoners) were softened, Pramoedya published a memoir, “Sad Song of a Mute” (Nyanyi Sunyi Seorang Bisu – 1995), with detailed accusations of forced labor, hunger and other abuses in the colony.

His work has been translated into almost 40 languages. Txalaparta argitaletxea (with translation by Alfonso Ormaetxea) has published the tetralogy of El cuarteto de Buru, one of the most important works of the writer in Castilian and Basque, and sad song of a mute. The Destino publishing house (translation by Gloria Méndez) has also published the four novels of El cuarteto de Buru. In addition, the young woman from the coast has been published in the Booket publishing house. The writer has been a candidate on several occasions for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 2006 aged 81, surrounded by his family.

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