The final batch of stars

Smriti Daniel concludes her series profiling some of the leading names due for the Galle Literary Festival in January 2011

Jung Chang

Jung Chang’s first novel, the autobiographical ‘Wild Swans’ brought the author universal acclaim and went on to become the biggest grossing non-fiction paperback in publishing history, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide.

The novel follows three generations of women living in 20th century China. Last in the line is Jung Chang herself: telling of her brief stint as a Red Guard, as a peasant, a ‘barefoot doctor,’ a steelworker, and an electrician.

She left China for Britain in 1978. With her husband, Jon Halliday, she is also the author of ‘Mao: The Unknown Story’ (2005).

Jon Halliday

Jon Halliday is a historian of Russia and was a former Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

He had written and edited eight books, among them, a biography of filmmaker Douglas Sirk published in 1971, ‘The Psychology of Gambling’ (1974) and ‘Korea: The Unknown War’ (1988). With his wife, Jung Chang, he wrote ‘Mao: The Unknown Story’ (2005).

The couple spent 12 years researching their subject, and the book itself received both critical praise and serious criticism from scholars.

Ayathurai Santhan

The author of three collections of short stories, ‘The Sparks’, In Their Own Worlds,’ and ‘The Northern Front’, Ayathurai’s most recent publication ‘The Whirlwind,’ was shortlisted for the 2010 Gratiaen Prize.

A bi-lingual writer, he has twice won the Sri Lankan State Literary Award, in 1975 for his writing in Tamil and in 2000 for his English literature.

With 15 books his credit, the author has seen his work published both at home and abroad. He is based in Jaffna.


Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Born and raised in the village of Kuliyapitiya in North-Western Province of Sri Lanka, Prof. Amarakeerthi is known for his portrayals of the rural working class.

A Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sinhala at the University of Peradeniya, he is the author of 14 books in Sinhala. Counted among them are collection of poems, ‘Ekamat eka Pita Rataka’, the novel ‘Atawaka Putthu’ (Half-moon Sons) and ‘The Hour When the Moon Weeps’ (translated into English by Kumari Goonesekere).

Candace Bushnell

Before Carrie Bradshaw, there was Candace Bushnell. Her columns about the perils of dating in the Big Apple were anthologized into a book, ‘Sex and the City,’, (1996) which then spawned the HBO series and two movies.

She is also the author of ‘One Fifth Avenue’, ‘Lipstick Jungle’,‘Trading Up’, ‘Four Blondes’ and ‘The Carrie Diaries’.



Sharmila Kantha

Beginning her writing career with two delightful children’s stories, the author made a leap to crime-fiction based on life in middle-class Delhi with her novel ‘Just the Facts, Madamji’ (2002).

Her other publications include ‘Building India with Partnership: The Story of CII 1895-2005’ (2006) which explored the history of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Her fifth book, ‘A Break in the Circle’ was published in 2010. The author is the wife of the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka.

Dr.Farish A.Noor

Voted one of the top forty Malaysians who have shaped the development of post-colonial Malaysia, Dr. Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist. Presently Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, he is the author of over ten books on politics and religion.

His most recent publication is ‘From Indrapura to Darul Makmur: A Deconstructive History of Pahang’ (2010).


Louis de Bernieres

His experiences in Colombia and admiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez (he is a self-described ‘Marquez parasite’) profoundly influenced Bernières’ Latin American trilogy – beginning with the publication of ‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts’ in 1990.

He was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993 and a year later published ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ to universal acclaim. 

The novel, set on the beautiful island of Cephallonia during World War II won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Novel (1994). ‘Notwithstanding: Stories from an English village’ was published in 2009.

He is also an accomplished musician - playing the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar - in performances with the Antonius Players.

Sinniah Maunaguru

An actor, writer, author, director, and former head of the Department of Fine Arts at the Eastern University, he is famous for his contribution to Tamil theatre and is the author of more than 25 books and 15 plays in Tamil.

Four of his works have earned Sahitya Mandalaya Prizes.He has acted, written and directed more than 65 plays between 1948 to 2003.

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