Q&A with Indonesia's famous author and SHU alumni, Andrea Hirata
Indonesian author Andrea Hirata graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK in 2002. His first novel The Rainbow Troops won the prize for general fiction at the New York Book Festival 2013 and is currently the bestselling Indonesian novel of all time, translated in 34 languages. We caught up with Andrea to find out more about his successful career and experience as an international student in the UK.
Where did it all begin?
I have always been interested in writing fiction and my writing has been enriched in so many ways by other disciplines, such as international economics and corporate culture. I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with an MSc in International Business in 2002 and I then worked for Indonesia's biggest telecommunication company as a financial analyst. In 2005, I started writing novels with the pen name Andrea Hirata. My first novel The Rainbow Troops published by FSG New York is Indonesia’s bestselling novel of all time. It has been translated into 34 languages and published by prominent publishers around the globe.
The Rainbow Troops led me to become the winner of New York Book Festival 2013 for general fiction category and the winner of Buchawards 2013 in Germany for Die Regenbogen Truppe (The Rainbow Troops German edition).
What are you currently working on?
I am now working on my new novel and, in addition, I am also building Indonesia’s first literary museum called Museum Kata (Words Museum) to encourage interest in reading and literature. It has started literary tourism for the first time in Indonesia. I enjoy interacting with editors and translators of my novel and my keys to success are to never stop learning and always be passionate in my writing. I have a big dream to be the first Indonesian author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
How did your time at Sheffield Hallam impact your career?
My studies have contributed significantly to my current profession as an author. My time at Sheffield broadened my knowledge and skills especially in research methodology that is very much applicable in my creative process. I was given corporate culture experience which I apply in my writing for researching any cultures.
One of the most interesting and valuable experiences during my studies was the opportunity to not only visit but also study and work in small businesses in the Midlands. It gave me inspiration to relate what I learnt in class to the real world.
Do you have any advice for graduates wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My advice is to be open to all kinds of possibilities, and to always remember that we are so lucky to have quality education in Sheffield Hallam University – and it’s time to create your own masterpieces!
To read more about Andrea and his work, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter (@andreahirata) and Instagram (@hirataandrea).
Katie Duncan is Editor of Hotcourses Abroad and is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and University of Exeter graduate. Having worked at an English language school in the UK, as an educational consultant in Spain and as a reporter in the international education sector, she is well placed to guide you through your study abroad journey. Katie grew up in Australia, which perhaps explains her unusual reptile collection, comprising of a bearded dragon (Bill) and tortoise (Matilda).