Andrea Hirata

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Hirata in 2012

Andrea Hirata (born October 24, 1967)[1] is an Indonesian author best known for the 2005 novel Laskar Pelangi ("The Rainbow Troops") and its sequels.


Hirata was born in Gantung, Belitung.[2] While he was young, his parents changed his name seven times.[3] They eventually settled on the name Andrea, while the name Hirata was given by his mother.[3] He grew up in a poor family not far from a government-owned mine.[4]

Hirata started his tertiary education with a degree in economics from the University of Indonesia.[4] After receiving a scholarship from the European Union, he did his master's degree in Europe, first at the University of Paris then at Sheffield Hallam University in Britain;[4] his thesis dealt with telecommunications and the economy.[5]

Hirata released Laskar Pelangi in 2005.[6] The novel, was written in a period of six months, and was based on his childhood experiences in Belitung;[4] he later described it as "an irony about a lack of access to education for children in one of the world's wealthiest islands.".[7] The novel went on to sell five million copies, with pirated editions selling 15 million more.[3] It also spawned three sequels: Sang Pemimpi (The Dreamer), Edensor and Maryamah Karpov.[4]

Laskar Pelangi was adapted into a film of the same name in 2008 by directors Riri Riza and Mira Lesmana;[7] the film became the most-viewed Indonesian film of all time, being seen by 5 million viewers during its theatrical run.[8] He also worked at the telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia, eventually quitting to focus on writing.[5][9] In 2010 the international rights for the Laskar Pelangi tetralogy were bought by American agent Amer & Asia;[6] the rights were later acquired by Kathleen Anderson Literary Management.[9] Afterwards, Hirata opened a library in his hometown.[2]

By 2010, he was spending weekends in Belitung and weekdays in Java.[2] He later published his first English-language short story, "Dry Season", in Washington Square Review.[9] That same year, he spent three months attending a writer's workshop at the University of Iowa.[3][10]

In 2011, television network SCTV announced a 15-episode serial adaption of Laskar Pelangi; Hirata had previously said he would not allow such an adaptation, but later relented as he felt the network could guarantee quality.[9] By 2012 the English translation of Laskar Pelangi had been picked up by FSG, Penguin Books, and Random House for sale in twenty countries; Hirata was the first Indonesian writer to be published with FSG.[8][11] That year he was a speaker at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.[11]


Winner of New York Book Festival 2013 in general fiction category [12]

Granted an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Hon DLitt) from University of Warwick, UK 2015


  • Laskar Pelangi (2005)
  • Sang Pemimpi (2006)
  • Edensor (2007)
  • Maryamah Karpov (2008)
  • Padang Bulan & Cinta di Dalam Gelas (2010)
  • Sebelas Patriot (2011)
  • Ayah (2015)
  • Sirkus Pohon (2017)
  • Orang-Orang Biasa (2019)


  1. ^ "Biography of the author" (PDF). University of North Sumatra. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  2. ^ a b c Sofyani 2010, Andrea Hirata: Savoring.
  3. ^ a b c d Riady 2010, Exporting Indonesia's Written.
  4. ^ a b c d e Fitri 2008, Andrea Hirata: Asking.
  5. ^ a b Tiojakin 2008, Andrea Hirata: A Writer's.
  6. ^ a b The Jakarta Post 2010, Andrea Hirata's novels.
  7. ^ a b The Jakarta Post 2008, Hirata happy with.
  8. ^ a b Jakarta Globe 2012, 'Laskar Pelangi'.
  9. ^ a b c d Setiawati 2011, Andrea Hirata: Home.
  10. ^ The Jakarta Post 2010, Hirata whisked away.
  11. ^ a b Kompas 2012, Novel "Laskar Pelangi".
  12. ^