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Daughter of Independence

Lived by Wenny Achdiat, Written by Bryce Alcock

As a child, Wenny Achdiat experienced the tumult of the Japanese occupation and the Revolution against Dutch rule. Subsequently she struggled for her own independence, first with her parents as a teenager, then with her oil executive husband during the chaotic Sukarno era, and finally with her loneliness as a single mother in Australia. Daughter of Independence interweaves Wenny’s story with that of her father, the controversial writer Achdiat Karta Mihardja, whose first novel Atheis became a classic. Independence brings both joy and sorrow for Wenny and tests the strong bond between father and daughter.

Wenny Achdiat relives an eventful life with author Bryce Alccok

Wenny Achdiat relives an eventful life with author Bryce Alcock

Daughter of Independence was a winner in the 2011-12 Australian Society of Authors Mentorship Program, supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Under the mentorship, editor Judith Lukin-Amundsen worked with Bryce Alcock to further develop the manuscript.

The book was reviewed in Tempo English Edition, 8 October 2013, by Dewi Anggraeni, author and Australian correspondent for Indonesian newspapers. In the review, Anggraeni wrote:

The day after he turned ninety-eight my father asked me a question I did not want to answer.’

That opening sentence, heavy with promise, bound me to the book, rendering me unable to put it down till I reached the last page …

Daughter of Independence is a compelling book. Reading it is like visiting a section of Indonesian history through a deeply personal frame.

Credit is also due to Bryce Alcock who presents Wenny’s story in such clear, moving prose. His knowledge and understanding of Indonesian culture is obvious without appearing ostentatious. And thanks to the cooperation of Wenny and Alcock we have a biography, a significant part of Indonesian history told in the most accessible manner, and above all, a very good read, all in one book.

Follow this link to read the prologue and first chapter.

More information about Achdiat is available on this link.

Link here for a report on the book launch at the University of Southern Queensland.

Follow this link for a tribute to Suprati Achdiat, Wenny’s mother.

Link here for a fascinating insight into Sundanese wedding customs – an edited extract from Daughter of Independence.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 6:54 pm

    I like your turn of phrase, Bryce, and look forward to reading your first book.

    • Bryce permalink*
      January 26, 2011 9:23 pm

      Thank you, Beverley, Wenny and I are still hoping to achieve publication this year. I enjoyed browsing your website and found the design/theme attractive. Best wishes for your future work with people in India.

  2. July 23, 2011 12:21 am

    Hi, Bryce

    Achdiat’s ‘Atheist’ is not only just a set of text in Indonesia or Singapore, but also in Brunei Darussalam.

    Just yesterday my Bruneian boss told me that ‘Atheis’ is taught in the Universiti Brunei Darussalam for four decades up today.

    I told him that Achdiat was still alive because two years ago I still read his latest work ‘Manifesto’, but I finally knew after browsing the internet, reading n obituaries in The Jakarta Post and your blog, that he’d already died.

    I read ‘Atheist’ and Sjumanjaya’s film based on the novel with the same tile in secondary school in early 1970s.

    Hopefully, I can read the memoir of ‘Daughter of Independence’ as I read Ktut Tantri’s ‘Revolt in Paradise’.

    Thanks and regards

    Darul Aqsha

  3. Bryce permalink*
    July 24, 2011 5:18 pm

    Hi Darul, thank you for your comments, it is good to know that ‘Atheis’ is still studied at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

    I enjoyed browsing your website – a useful resource on Islam in Indonesia.

    We’re hoping for publication of ‘Daughter of Independence’ later this year, although the rewrite (like everything) is taking longer than anticipated. I can let you know when it becomes available.

    Kind regards

  4. August 8, 2011 4:48 pm

    Hi Bryce,

    I want to let you know that I used parts of your obituary for Achdiat K Mihardja for my article on the late author in ‘The Brunei Times’ here: It’s just a compiling article. Thanks for your inspiring article. It’s very helpful.

    On my website, I’m ashamed with its performance because I still learn how to manage a good website and I don’t have much time to manage it well.

    Thanks for your attention, Bryce.

    Best regards

    Darul Aqsha

  5. Bryce permalink*
    August 11, 2011 9:03 am

    Hi Darul
    Thank you for the link to your article – it is very comprehensive, a more in-depth treatment of Aki and his writing than most newspaper reports about him. Ibu Wenny was delighted to see it and asked me to pass on her appreciation to you. She will add it to her collection of memorabilia and writings about her father.

    All the best with your work
    Kind regards

  6. August 13, 2011 2:08 pm

    My warmst regards to Ibu Wenny.

    Thanks Bryce

    Darul Aqsha


  1. Mentors for Writers | The Echidna and the Fox
  2. Daughter of Independence – Out Now! | The Echidna and the Fox
  3. A Proud, Strong Woman | The Echidna and the Fox
  4. Wenny Achdiat, Daughter of Independence | The Echidna and the Fox

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