Thursday, February 21, 2013

Waiting On: Galle Literary Festival 2014

One of my favorite annual events held in Sri Lanka is the Galle Literary Festival. Its founder Geoffrey Dobbs launched its first event sometime around 2005/06, and over the past few years the event has grown significantly in profile, participation and attendance.

I initially discovered the festival in 2011 and attended all four days over which it was held in Galle. I enjoyed attending the variety of author "in conversation" and panel sessions, book readings, literary breakfast, lunches and dinners, workshops and, other quirky events. The entire four days felt intimate, companionable and stimulating. The primary venues for most events are situated within the old Galle Fort, which is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage site. It adds to the overall appeal of the event, as the fort has a colorful history and features both Portuguese and Dutch era buildings.
In my first year of attendance I felt fortunate to have spent time surrounded by some wonderful writers that included Louis de Bernieres, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jung Chang, Lawrence Hill, Andrey Kurkov, Tash Aw and many others.

Local, as well as internationally renowned writers are invited to participate and discuss their craft, as well as their past and present publications. Their books are available for purchase at very reasonable prices and post-session they are available for signings, a brief chat and photo opportunities. Many hotels in the area participate in the event by hosting breakfast, lunch or dinner events, which provide the opportunity for more literary discussion and contact.

Ever since then I have been a loyal fan of the Galle Literary Festival. This year, when I heard that the organizers were taking a break, due to unforeseeable cancellations and time constraints, I was distraught.

I'm now eagerly awaiting the release of dates, programme and other information for the 2014 Galle Literary Festival so I can lock it into my diary.

Useful links:
Galle Literary Festival - Official website
Galle Literary Festival - Facebook Page
Article: Galle Lit Fest prepares for a captivating event in 2014
Article: Sri Lanka's Literary Festival to take a break in 2013

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