Galle Literary Festival comes to you with new features

By Adilah Ismail, Pic by Berty Mendis

Meander through the cobbled streets of Galle and drop in for an afternoon of poetry over tea with Scottish poet Jackie Kay and English poet Wendy Cope. Learn how to make your own graphic novel with Sarnath Banerjee and hear iconic writer Sybil Wettasinghe reminiscence about her own childhood in a village near Galle.

The Galle Literary Festival beckons and in its fourth year, comes equipped with a plethora of events to cater to literary lovers of manifold genres. The Festival takes place from January 28 - February 1, 2010 and will for the first time feature genres such as crime fiction, graphic novels and pulp fiction.

Speaking at a news conference held in Colombo last week, Festival Director Sunila Galappatti explained that among its new innovations, the Festival will also feature performances by the Ravibandu Vidyapati Drum Ensemble and the Chitrasena Dance Company in addition to the events by the participating writers. The Chamber Music Society of Colombo also returns by popular demand to perform at the Dutch Reformed Church in Galle, and this will be the world premiere of a new composition by its resident composer Stephen Allen.

Another new feature of the festival is the introduction of discounted tickets for teachers, (in addition to the existing student discount) and the inclusion of more free events at the Festival in order to make it more accessible to the public at large.

Also for the first time, the 2010 festival will run a day of events for 100 students from Galle schools. This is the concluding phase of the outreach programme conducted throughout 2009 among urban and rural schools in Galle and Matara to promote creative reading and writing among students.

Historian Antony Beevor, Novelist Gillian Slovo and South Asian writers Mohammed Hanif, Rana Dasgupta and Amit Varma are among those participating in the festival while Sri Lankan writers Shyam Selvadurai, Michelle de Kretser, Ru Freeman, Shehan Karunatilaka, Lal Medawattegedara, Ameena Hussein and Ashok Ferrey are among the many Sri Lankan writers lined up.

Platinum sponsors for the festival are the British Council, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Embassy of Norway and the Jetwing Lighthouse. Gold sponsors are Amangalla, The American Centre, B Sharp, Dilmah, Emirates, ETV, Printcare, The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Times.

The programme for the Festival is online. To findout more about the participants and the upcoming festival visit

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