I’m currently deep into The Malay Archipelago by Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. I’ve been aware of Wallace – in particular his travels in Maluku – for years; but I have never got round to properly reading him. So I’m taking the opportunity of being involved in the British Council’s Wallacea Week to make good on this omission. The Malay Archipelago is loads of fun: it is a big, fat book, but also a damned good read (although in hindsight, his zealous persecution of orang utans is rather regrettable).
Tonight I’m going to be at the National Library of Indonesia to talk about Wallace, Indonesia and travel writing along with Indonesian travel-writer Augustinus Wibowo (look out for his hugely moving travel book Zero, coming soon in English), and with music from Welsh-Indonesian singer-songwriter Hilang Child. Excitability and jet lag are currently waging a battle for my soul; but thankfully excitability is winning out.
Come along at 7pm tonight if you are in Jakarta. It’s free, and it should be a fun evening.