December 2010

A Feast Of Literature
December 2010

The old-world atmosphere of Galle, where mementoes from the past rub shoulders with the beauty of beach and ocean, is perhaps the perfect setting in which to host a literary festival. Once again, this southern city is set to bring together some of the greatest writers of our time with the 5th anniversary of the Galle Literary Festival taking place from January 26 - 30, 2011. 

Words: Ayesha Inoon

Dubbed 'The number one literary festival in the world' by Harpers Bazaar, this event has continued to evolve, inviting literary aficionados to steep themselves in a pleasurable literary experience consisting of everything from tea-time chats with writers to whale watching sessions under the guidance of an expert writer on the subject.

This year's writers include Nobel Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk, Booker Prize Nominee Damon Galgut, Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jung Chang, whose biography 'Wild Swans' won international awards and accolades and Candace Bushnell, international best-selling author of 'Sex and the City'.  Poets will include Daljit Nagra, Roger McGough, Omar Musa, Vivimarie VanderPoorten and Tishani Doshi.

For the first time, a Festival Curator has been appointed - Shyam Selvadurai, the renowned Sri Lankan author of 'Funny Boy' - who is in charge of the programme. Among the new features he has introduced to the Festival is a spotlight on Malaysia with a group of Malaysian writers who will provide a glimpse into their country's colourful culture and society. 

Programmes for children have always been a highlight of the Festival, and continue to increase in number and quality with each consecutive year. Of importance is the helping hand or the outreach programme and is one of the beneficial effects of the Festival. Under this programme, creative writing workshops have been conducted throughout the year for children in the southern province, and at the Festival, there will once again be a completely free day for local schools, where foreign and 
Sri Lankan writers will help young people improve their English skills and learn about literature.


With Sri Lanka's southern coast being one of the best spots in the world for whale watching, the festival brings a spotlight on this aspect and on marine conservation.

With Sri Lanka's southern coast being one of the best spots in the world for whale watching, the Festival brings a spotlight on this aspect and on marine conservation. Philip Hoare, whose most recent book Leviathan, or The Whale, won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize and charts his lifelong obsession with these giants, will be speaking on the subject, while whale watching sessions are also scheduled to take place. 


Participants will also be able to witness the BBC world forum which will focus on post-conflict issues and is due to be broadcast to over 40 million listeners, enjoy a lunchtime picnic in the World Heritage site of Galle Fort or watch concerts such as the Sri Lankan and Indian dance performances.

Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel, will be officially opening the Festival with an event in Colombo, scheduled to take place a week before the Festival opens in Galle, giving an opportunity to those who will be unable to travel down south.

There is much enthusiasm about the Festival's growing popularity and its potential to attract visitors to Sri Lanka. Principal sponsors such as SriLankan Airlines has remained supportive recognising the value of this Festival in promoting air travel and tourism to the country.

Indeed, what could be more appealing to a lover of the written word - a feast of literature, culture and history that takes place amidst the beauty, sunshine and hospitality of this paradise isle.

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  • Yvani Deraniyagala
  • Andrey Kurkov
  • Ayathurai Santhan
  • Bridget Kendall
  • Candace Bushnell
  • Channa Daswatte
  • Charles Allen
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Daljit Nagra
  • Damon Galgut
  • Deepika Shetty
  • Farish A. Noor
  • Guy Delisle
  • Ian Britain
  • Iliya Troyanov
  • Jancis Robinson
  • Jay McInerney
  • Jill Dawson
  • Jon Halliday
  • Judy Fong Bates
  • Jung Chang
  • Karen Roberts
  • Kiran Desai
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Liyanage Amarakeerthi
  • Louis de Bernières
  • Malvika Singh
  • Manuka Wijesinghe
  • Mohsin Hamid
  • Omar Musa
  • Orhan Pamuk
  • Pankaj Mishra
  • Pauline Melville
  • Philip Hoare
  • Prashani Rambukwella
  • Preeta Samarsan
  • Randy Boyagoda
  • Ranjini Obeyesekere
  • Reeba Som
  • Roger McGough
  • Roshi Fernando
  • Sandra Jensen
  • Sarah Dunant
  • Shamini Flint
  • Sharmila Kantha
  • Shyam Selvadurai
  • Sinniah Maunaguru
  • Sudesh Mantillake
  • Sunila Abeyesekera
  • Tan Twang Eng
  • Tash Aw
  • Tishani Doshi
  • Tripat Narayanan
  • Vivimarie Vanderpooten
  • William Fiennes