Gear up for Galle Lit!

Friday, 23 September 2011 02:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Partnered by HSBC; author list, preliminary programme and sponsors announced

The Galle Literary Festival is one of the most anticipated annual events in the international literary circuit. It will take place from 18 to 22 January 2012. The event will be partnered by HSBC, which will act as the title sponsor of the festival.

Expressing his views about this new partnership, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives Nick A. Nicolaou said, “As the world’s local bank, we are indeed delighted to partner with what is undoubtedly a world class event that’s held in the historic city of Galle, and coincides with the recent opening of our new branch in that city. Our customers too have a particular interest in literature, arts and culture and our association with the HSBC Galle Literary Festival 2012 will give them the opportunity to be part of an event that showcases Sri Lanka’s diversity to the world.”

Festival Founder Geoffrey Dobbs (centre) addresses the media as Jetwing Chairman Hiran Cooray (far left), SriLankan Airlines Marketing Manager Pradeep Duriraj (second from left), HSBC CEO Sri Lanka and Maldives Nick A. Nicolaou (second from right) and Festival Curator Shyam Selvadurai (far right) look on at the head table

In its very first year, the festival was voted ‘No.1 Literary Festival in the World’ by Harper’s Bazaar (UK). In 2011, the Orange and Commonwealth Prize winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie described the festival as “one of the best literary festivals I have been to. The country is beautiful, the people are warm, and there was something vital and meaningful about the events and the exchange of ideas.”

Next year’s festival will be no different to any other, as it will bring forth a list of participants who are visiting from all over the globe as well as closer to home. The 2012 festival will feature award winning writers, historians, poets and biographers from Palestine, Ireland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, India, Canada, England, the United States, Germany and Sri Lanka.

Among the writers attending will be Joanna Trollope, Richard Dawkins, Tom Stoppard, D.B.C Pierre, Meera Syal, John Boyne, Aminatta Forna, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Sir Alistair Horne, Nayantara Sahgal, Hari Kunzru, and Sri Lankan local and diasporic writers Romesh Gunasekera, Randy Boyagoda, Roshi Fernando, Sakuntala Sachithanandan and many more.

Festival Curator Shyam Selvadurai says: “I have invited authors whose work will be of interest to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. This festival will be a platform to learn about other cultures but also to look at ourselves.

“The festival will open with a debate on issues dealing with Post-war Sri Lanka and there will be panels on Dr. Martin Wickramasinghe, the Tamil Diaspora and a documentary and discussion on the Burgher community. There will also be a Duet series, where two writers will spar off on a subject familiar to both, such as the life of Indira Gandhi, Henry Kissinger’s Legacy, the trauma of war and other fascinating subjects.

“With the support and partnership of Magic Ice Cream and One Trust we are extending our stellar children’s outreach programme to Jaffna this year where some of the festival authors will be meeting with schools in the north of the country to do teacher training and children’s workshops. The Festival will continue to feature its much loved readings, tea and poetry series, gourmet lunches and dinner, lunchtime concerts and late night musical revues.

“The Festival is indebted to our long list of sponsors, old and new — which include our official Carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, Jetwing Lighthouse The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Printcare, Brtitish Council, the American Centre and many more. Over the years, our sponsors have, through their support, made it possible for the Festival to become what it is today.”