“The most companionable of all festivals”- that’s how Michael Morpugo describes the Galle Literary Festival. This award winning author of children’s books definitely knows what he is talking about, and this is just one more reason to try and join the host of literary enthusiasts in the festival next month. It’s not just Mr. Morpugo who has expressed his praise about the festival. The well respected Harpers Bazaar has also dubbed it “No.1 Literary Festival in world.” And this was done right after the festival’s debut a mere 2 years ago!
What are the features of the Galle Literary Festival? The general idea is to encourage intellectual and artistic interaction between respected writers from all around the world. People who may not have had the chance to get published but have a passion for literature are also welcomed with open arms.
The festival is jam packed with talks, debates, workshops, and other activities that will keep participants busy all throughout the five days. Renowned authors will be sharing stories that they have written about Sri Lanka, giving participants an insider’s glimpse. Aspiring children’s books authors may also take part in a workshop where Sandhya Rao will talk about writing in this genre. Other talks will revolve around fables, fairy tales, poetry, and more.
One particularly interesting workshop will be given by Lal Medawattegedera on the 29th of January – the Young Adults’ Writing Workshop. This is open to people aged 15 – 25. I think it’s a perfect “start of the year gift” for teenagers who are into writing. In this day and age, where reading and writing is not always considered “cool” anymore, exposure to a workshop like this can prove to be valuable.
Another excellent reason to join the festival is the fact that they are featuring crime writing (including graphic novels and pulp fiction) for the first time. The festival organizers are known for experimenting with various genres, and it really is exciting to see how the participants will respond to this potentially controversial development. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is probably going to be a successful move!
The Galle Literary Festival will run from 28 January to 1 February 2010, and if you cannot afford to pay for passes that will allow access to every single event, you can still enjoy what Galle has to offer. This Sri Lankan city is located about 119km south of Colombo and is actually the fourth largest in the country. Galle is also the capital of the Southern Province.
There are a lot of attractions and activities that you can see and do in Galle. The Galle Fort is definitely a must-visit – it was built in 1988 and has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also visit numerous temples and churches. Aside from these, popular destinations include tea estates and markets (be prepared for a chaotic but exciting experience). Rainforest treks, scuba diving, and other activities are also popular.
Mark your calendars – the Galle Literary Festival should be in your travel plans next year!