Budi Darma was born in Rembang, Central Java, on April 25th, 1937. He went to school in Bandung, Kudus, Salatiga, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Honolulu, and Bloomington, Indiana, United States. During high school in Semarang, Budi Darma worked part time with the late B. Sularto as a reporter for “Tanah Air” newspaper. After he graduated from Gadjah Mada University for his undergrad degree, he worked as a lecturer at IKIP Surabaya UNESA (previously IKIP Surabaya), and even though he has long since retired, he still works as a lecturer at UNESA. In this institution, he has worked as head of program, dean, rector, and member of several commissions related to higher learning in universities.
Budi Darma has published several books, including Olenka, Orang-Orang Bloomington, Rafilus, Nyonya Talis, Kritikus Adinan, and Hotel Tua. Budi Darma has received several awards, including Anugerah Seni from the Indonesian government, SEA-Write Award, Satya Lencana Kebudayaan Presiden R.I, and Anugerah Sastra Mastera.
JILF is an annual international literary festival initiated by the Literary Committee of Jakarta Arts Council (JAC). Just as JAC was built and nurtured by artists and for arts, JILF was founded by writers for the sake of literature and book industry.