Edited By Jan Russell

The Banda Islands

Anthology of Literature, Art, and Travel

The Banda Islands have long fascinated explorers, anthropologists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and artists. These ‘islands of spicerie’ have witnessed key moments in history, from the beginnings of global capitalism and colonisation to Indonesia’s journey towards becoming a nation. Today the region is one of the last true marine wildernesses in the world.

The Banda Islands anthology features the words and images of those who have come under the islands’ spell through the centuries, including:

Amitav Ghosh, Giles Milton, Elizabeth Pisani, Goenawan Mohamad, Des Alwi, Jean Couteau, Oscar Motuloh, M. Fadli, Tim Severin, John Seabrook, Made Wianta, Hanafi, Lawrence Blair, Michael Vatikiotis, Hanna Rambé, Janet DeNeefe, Beatrice Glow, Jay Subyakto, Phillip Winn, and many more.


Jan Russell

Jan Russell is a peripatetic editor and writer who suffers from persistent dog envy. She has lived in Ireland, Germany, Spain, Indonesia and India.

After working in the fields of media, law, education, financial services, and international relations, she came to the conclusion that good communication is the only thing that matters. She co-founded and for several years edited Kabar Indonesia magazine, a publication celebrating the people and places of the archipelago. This was the seed from which Kabar Media grew — helping authors and organisations share their stories through print and film. 

She is also a communication consultant and co-founder of PABRIK design studios, where she shares her colleagues’ passion for art and creative culture.


Packed with various perspectives on the islands, including colourful local mythical stories, archaeological information and rich political and social history. Beautifully produced, it’s particularly great for map lovers and it includes a reproduction of the earliest map including the Banda Islands…

This is a book to read if you’ve more than a passing interest in Indonesia, and of course it’s essential reading if you’re heading to the Banda Islands themselves.

– Travelfish


An excellent book…from the chosen content, to layout, to production.

– Tim Severin