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Hamsad Rangkuti was born on May 7, 1943 in Titikuning, Medan, North Sumatra.  His father was a night guard and his mother worked as both a fruit seller at a market and a worm gatherer at a tobacco farm. 

From an early age, he was an avid reader.  In 1959, at the age of 16 while still in high school, he wrote his first short story “Nyanyian di Rambung Tua”.  It was published in the Indonesia Baru newspaper.  He stopped his formal education his second year of high school because his parents could no longer pay the tuition.  After that, he worked as a civil servant, as a corrector at a military office, and then a director of the culture column of the Waspada newspaper in Medan.

He continued writing during this period and was the youngest writer to be invited to attend the Konferensi Karyawan Pengarang Indonesia (Congress of Indonesian Writers) in Jakarta in 1964.  A year later he moved to Jakarta.  In 1969, he was invited to join the literary magazine Horison, by the senior editor, Arif Budiman, where he worked first as a corrector and then as an editor.  He became chief editor of the magazine in 1986 and held that position until retiring in 2002. 

His works have been published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies and have been translated into English and German.  He has won many awards for his short stories including the Literary Award from the National Language Center (2001), the Literary Award from the local government of Jakarta (2000), the Loyal Writing Award from KOMPAS (2000), the Khatulistiwa Literary Award (2003) and most recently the S.E.A. Write Award (2008).

In receiving the S.E.A. award, Hamsad Rangkuti said how honored he was to receive the award because “I never learned formally how to write short stories.  It comes naturally to me as result of acts of writing, which I have been doing consistently, for years and years.  I am close to the ordinary people, because that is who I am.  I am part of them, their culture, their anguish, their dreams, and their problems.” 

This is his first acting role.

For detailed list of his works, click here.