Iwan Simatupang studied anthropology and drama at Leiden University in the Netherlands and philosophy at the Sorbonne, France. He then returned to Indonesia and married a Dutch pianist. He published The Redness of Red (1968), The Pilgrim (1969), and Drought (1972). The Redness of Red won a national literary award in 1970 and The Pilgrim was awarded the First ASEAN Literary Award in 1977. Iwan Simatupang also wrote a number of poetry, short stories, and plays-all known for their avant-garde form. He was also a journalist, and his columns frequently focus on Indonesia's marginalized communities.