“Be warned, the GLF is a heady cocktail: history; culture; gossip; and some great food!”-Nicholas Lander, Restaurant Critic Financial Times (2010)
By Cheranka Mendis
The HSBC Galle Literary Festival is all ready to take the city of Galle by storm once again, with new additions, literary wonders and host of exciting activities.
Scheduled to take place from 18-22 January, the event will follow the same format as the previous years but with more new additions to cover all aspects of literary work. Festival Curator Shyam Selvadurai taking on the responsibilities for the second year told the Weekend FT that the festival hopes to host and introduce a few Sinhala and Tamil authors adding variety to the event.
“We are also planning to introduce duet sessions, where two writers will spar on a subject familiar to both,” Selvadurai said. Subjects such as the life and work of Indira Gandhi, the legacy of Henry Kissinger, trauma of war, immigration issues etc. will be discussed at the event. “This would be an interesting feature. It adds both colour and insight into matters that are common in social circles and gatherings.”
“With the support and partnership of Magic Ice Cream and One Trust we are taking the children’s programme to Jaffna this year where authors will mingle with the school children and it will be a unique experience for both the children and the authors,” Selvadurai said.
The organizing committee also hopes to organize a daily shuttle bus service between Colombo and Galle to support the participants, Festival Founder Geoffrey Dobbs said. Explaining the early start to the event, Dobbs said that January was the most convenient time for foreign authors. “Europe literary festivals start in May and therefore postponing the event to the middle of the year would act negatively on us as most would not be able to come. The dates have been picked giving thought to Chinese New Year celebrations and our very own Independence Day celebrations.”
He noted that the interest of the people both local and foreign has grown since the inception of the festival five years ago. The interest of the youth in the festival is encouraging, he said, “from volunteers to those who participate in fringe events and programmes listed, the youth has increased their contribution and involvement in the festival.” The hype for the event is so much so that it is now listed as an established feature in the international literary calendar.
This year too, students and teachers will be able to purchase tickets for half price. Dobbs added that more free events are being planned to create more opportunity for people to learn and enjoy. With HSBC coming in as title sponsor, HSBC cardholders will be issued tickets at a discounted rate.
HSBC Galle Literary Festival 2012 Participants
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
Dr. Sandagomi Coperahewa
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu