David Jardine Award

A long-time friend of DJ, whose wife was a colleague of his in the mid-90s, ‘missed’ him on a recent visit to Jakarta and has approached us with the idea of ‘sponsoring’ a David Jardine Award on the lines of the Somerset Maugham Award for young writers.

As ‘the sponsor’ wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, we are looking to attract support from the media who published his articles over the years as well as individuals.

The SM Award was specifically for fiction writers, to enable them “to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries.” Dave’s main concerns were very much rooted in the world as he interpreted it. Until he ‘settled’ in Indonesia, he had lead a peripatetic life, so had a world view.

As a young man, he was a primary (elementary) school teacher, so he retained a life-long concern for education. This informed his writing, as did his history degree, which meant that he looked beyond surface impressions to the underlying roots of issues and events.

Broadly speaking, Dave’s other major concerns were globalisation and consumerism, with its impact on the environment, the military and fundamentalism, politics and corruption, and human rights. Although too readily labelled as a left-winger, probably due to his Bintang-fuelled rants, he was consistent in his humanitarianism.

This we know because of his deep love of nature expressed through his longing to be ‘at one’ with it during his solitary bird-watching outings and that he spent his last year(s) in Bogor with a view of Gunung Salak from his room.

We have tried to sketch a concise outline above in order to suggest a framework for any young Indonesian writers who we think could be eligible for a ‘David Jardine Award’. Much work needs to be done to assess its relevance and practicality, but we believe that it has the potential to inspire critical analysis among young Indonesian writers.

We would be grateful for any feedback, positive or negative, so please email us with your thoughts.

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