Tony and Yohanni Johns Lecture 2024: The Question of Truth

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

The Question of Truth 

In this lecture, Leila Salikha Chudori will reflect on the political nature of history writing in Indonesia under authoritarianism. She will explore how Indonesia’s youngest generations have found ‘truth’ through historical fiction.

Please join us for a thought-provoking lecture from one of Indonesia's most prominent contemporary writers. 

Leila Salikha Chudori is an Indonesian journalist and writer. In 2020 Chudori was awarded the Southeast Asian Writers Award, and in 2023, together with her daughter Rain Chudori, founded Peron House publishing company. Chudori worked as a journalist for Tempo magazine from 1989, as a screenwriter and a novelist, and published her first stories in children’s magazines at age 12.

Her award-winning novel Pulang (Home), a multigenerational romance set against the backdrop of Indonesian political activism in the mid-1960s and 1998, was published in 2012 and translated into English, Dutch, German and Italian.

In 2017 Chudori published Laut Bercerita, which tells the fictionalised story of a student activist who was ‘disappeared’ in 1998, his bereaved family and grieving friends, and those who tortured and betrayed him. The novel was made into a short film. Laut Bercerita has been a best seller for seven years. Leila Chudori’s work is informed by sources as wide ranging as Kafka and the Hindu Epics, and she draws on the deep wounds and hopes of Indonesian history to create novels with astute political resonances.

This lecture honours both Tony and Yohanni Johns's enduring legacies on Indonesian teaching in ANU and all across Australia, which started when Tony was made inaugural professor Indonesian languages and literature at ANU in 1963. It is made possible by the generosity of Emeritus Professor Anthony Reid, as well as Tony and Yohanni's friends and family.


  • Reception 5.30-6pm
  • Lecture 6-7pm 

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Date and Times


Lecture Theatre 1 (HB1), Hedley Bull Building
130 Garran Rd