22 Sep, 2011 15:23:23
Sri Lanka's Galle literary festival gears up for 2012
Sept 22, 2011 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Galle literary festival is notching up writers and sponsors for 2012 but it would remain 'intimate' giving audiences an opportunity to engage more closely with writers, organizers said.
The festival started in 2007 amidst a three decade old war which ended two years later. The festival has since gained recognition and Sri Lanka itself has become a safer and popular destination for travellers.
"The intimacy of the festival is something that which we value," festival founder Geoffrey Dobbs said.
"And certainly at this stage of time we have no intention of growing the festival."
In 2012 it would be branded the HSBC Galle Literary Festival with the lender coming in as the main sponsor. Sri Lanka's state-run SriLankan Airlines helps bring in writers. Leisure group like Jetwing, also longstanding sponsors, chip in with accommodation.
Next year's event will be from January 18 to 22.
Among the many writers signed up so far are Joanna Trollope, Richard Dawkins, Tom Stoppard, D B C Pierre, Meera Syal, John Byrne, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Alistair Horne, Nayantara Sahgal and Hari Kunzru.
Romesh Gunasekera, Randy Boyagoda, Roshi Fernando, Sakuntala Sachithandan from Sri Lanka's diaspora will also be in the festival.
"It is a festival that celebrates writing in English," Dobbs says. "Not just by English people, increasingly by huge diaspora of writers, from India, Sri Lanka and Asia.
"We are seeing a huge shift in the writing of English." Shyam Selvadurai the festival curator, said it will start with a panel discussion on national unity and accountability, looking at both Sri Lanka and global issues.
Thousands locals and foreigners descent on Galle, a historic city with an old Dutch Fort during the festival, pumping an estimated 400 million rupees into the local economy.
This year with an expressway due to be open cutting travel time to one hour from three, more visitors are expected, Dobbs said.