Apple and Knife


Apple and Knife, Intan Paramaditha, translated by Stephen J. Epstein (Brow Books 2018)

Bahasa Indonesia

Apple and Knife is a short story collection by Intan Paramaditha translated by Stephen J. Epstein. It was first published in Australia (March 2018) by Brow Books, the book publishing imprint of the literary magazine The Lifted Brow. Apple and Knife consists of eleven stories that were published in Indonesia between 2005-2010 and one unpublished story. The stories are drawn from Sihir Perempuan (KataKita 2005/ Gramedia Pustaka Utama 2017), a collection of short stories shortlisted for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award, and Kumpulan Budak Setan (Gramedia Pustaka Utama 2010), a horror anthology co-written with Eka Kurniawan and Ugoran Prasad.

Publication of this book was made possible with assistance from the LitRI Translation Funding Program of the National Book Committee and Ministry of Education and Culture, the Republic of Indonesia.

Apple and Knife will be launched in New Zealand (New Zealand Festival, Writers and Readers, March 10, 2018) and Australia (Sydney, Better Read Than Dead, March 23, 2018).

Apple and Knife will be published in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries by Harvill Secker (Vintage/ Penguin Random House).

For more information about the book, please visit Brow Books/ The Lifted Brow website.

For inquiries on publication in other countries and foreign rights, please contact Kelly Falconer, Asia Literary Agency:



Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves into the supernatural to explore the dangers and power of occupying a female body in today’s world.

These short fictions set in the Indonesian everyday—in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages—reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface. Sometimes wacky and always engrossing, this is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.



“Intan Paramaditha, who mixes fairy tales and gothic ghost stories with feminist and political issues, shakes up her readers, showing that her fiction is not beholden to a single interpretation. Her short stories reveal that the most terrifying thing in life is not one of the supernatural ghosts that populate her work, but human prejudice. As far as I’m concerned, only writers of genius are able to convey a layered and nuanced world, and Intan is one of them.”
Eka Kurniawan, internationally acclaimed author of Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger, Man Booker International Prize 2016 finalist 

“In Apple and Knife, Intan Paramaditha has turned the fairytale on its head. Instead of helpless maidens, these fables are bursting with fierce and fabulous females, determined to exact justice in an unjust world. As the enigmatic title suggests, the writing is juicy and incisive. Every story is a gem and, as with all good fairytales, there are important lessons to be learned.”
Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award

“Deliciously dark and expertly disturbing, Intan Paramaditha’s compelling Apple and Knife will haunt you. Her weird, original stories reveal the darkness behind old tales and the shadows lurking at the edges of modern life.”
Ryan O’Neill, author of The Weight of a Human Heart and Their Brilliant Careers, winner of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction

“Abject and visceral, the stories in Apple and Knife are incise, humorous and vividly realised. Intan Paramaditha transgresses narrative conventions, bringing the villain into intimate proximity. Her tropes are marvellously bound, ranging from allegory, dystopian realism to erotic fantasy. Luminous and dangerously entertaining.”
Michelle Cahill, author of Letter to Pessoa and winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing

Apple and Knife challenges contemporary national ideas about womanhood. All the stories in this book speak of distinctive aspects of women’s lives, like virginity, menstruation, abortion and marriage, and peel off the myths surrounding them. At a glance, the women in the stories — be they a mother, a daughter, a sister, a blue-collar worker, a white-collar worker or even a fiction writer — could be seen as disobedient. In an interview with Whiteboard Journal, Paramaditha admits she wants to reclaim the word bandel, or “disobedient”. Her idea of disobedience, however, is not a conventional gesture, like smoking or having a tattoo, but the inclination to break through, to cross borders, to resist.”
Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Mekong Review