It was raining outside, but the
children clustered in the
small veranda at Martin Wickramasinghe's birthplace were completely oblivious to the drizzle,
as they listened to Martin Wickramasinghe's grown up children regale stories about their father.
'The True Story' was an interview with Martin Wickramasinghe's family and was one of the many events for children, held at the recently
concluded Galle Literary Festival.
The intimate interview gave children aged 12 – 14 years an opportunity to gain an insight into the Sri Lankan author's life.
Martin Wickramasinghe, one of
Sri Lanka's most prolific writers, was born in the year 1890, in the village of Koggala. A mischievous child while growing up, the writer was only 12 when his father died and he had to take on responsibility at a young age.
The writer has authored books in Sinhala and English and his books have also been translated into Hindi, Tamil, Russian, Chinese, Romanian, Dutch, German, French and Japanese
'Madol Duwa', 'Gamperaliya,' 'Rajawenta Giya Mahanna' and 'Mage Kathava' are a few of his
listened as they were told of how Martin Wickramasinghe had to commute by train everyday and would always read books during his journey. In fact sometimes he would be so engrossed in his books, that he would miss his stop!
Numerous anecdotes about
growing up with their talented father and bits and pieces about his life, were shared with the children gathered at the discussion. The writer's wide imagination, his experiences and his fascination with the natural environment were also talked about.
Afterwards, the children were taken on a trip to explore the island Madol Duwa, on the Koggala Lake. Meanwhile in the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum a
treasure hunt takes place.
Groups of children dart from one room to another peering at the exhibits, pieces of paper clutched in their hands, as they attempt to find answers to a series of questions in order to be the first to reach 'the
Vishak, Sheneena, Sophia and Shaveen take a moment during the hunt to speak to us and smilingly inform us that they were having fun as they dart to the next room to answer their
The various events were divided among different age groups and the children also had the opportunity to meet children's author Sandhya Rao, make kites, speak to writer Mac Bartnett and enjoy a treasure trove of stories while they were in Galle for the fourth consecutive Literary Festival.