well read - Galle Literary Festival 2012

Candace Bushnell
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The sixth edition of the Galle Literary Festival comes to the historic Galle Fort in Sri Lanka from January 18 to 22 with a programme of events to delight and entertain.


Galle Literary Festival

The Galle Literary Festival is an intimate and relaxed event set in the UN World Heritage city of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka, where participants and festival-goers alike can converse and exchange ideas and opinions at one of the many events.

This festival offers some lively sessions with an exciting line-up of diverse writers from all over the world, such as Joanna Trollope, DBC Pierre, John Boyne, Randy Boyagoda, Romesh Gunesekera, and Nayantara Sahgal. Some of the programme highlights include: literary dinners with Shashi Tharoor and David Thompson; conversations with authors including Aminatta Forna, Tom Stoppard, Richard Dawkins, and Simon Sebag Montefiore; ‘Mayhem Past Midnight’ with internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, and singer-songwriter Jason Kouchak, including a number he composed with Joanna Trollope; tea and poetry sessions with writers including Ruth Padel and Lemn Sissay; ‘Lunchtime Illuminations’ film screenings; and workshops for writers.

This year the festival spotlight is on India with ‘A Taste of India’ literary dinners, Indian cultural performances, and a focus on Indian authors and books based in the country.

Book reviews

By Stephen Kelman

Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, 11-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a London housing estate. With equal fascination for the local gang – the Dell Farm Crew – and the pigeon who visits his balcony, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his new life in England: watching, listening, and learning. But when a boy is killed on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own.


By Roshi Fernando

From a New Year’s party in 1982 to a family funeral in the present day, via ghetto blasters and growing pains, through 7/7 and the world according to Charlie Chaplin, life in all of its complexity happens to Preethi, Nil, Lolly, Rohan, and their tight-knit Sri Lankan families in south London. Tracing the fine lines of politics, tradition, and community, Roshi Fernando’s collection of interlinked stories pulls us back to the knowledge of home and what it means to belong.


By Joanna Trollope

Rachel has always been fiercely devoted to her three sons, and loved that they depended on her, even after they have grown up. But when Luke, her youngest, gets married, she finds that control is slipping away. Other people seem to be becoming more important to her children than she is, and she can no longer rely on her role as undisputed matriarch. A power struggle develops when her three daughters-in-law want to do things their own way, and so, to her sadness, do her sons.


By Rachel Hore

Photographer Lucy Cardwell has recently lost her troubled father, Tom. While sifting through his papers, she finds he had been researching an uncle she never knew he had. Intrigued, she visits her father’s childhood home and meets an old woman named Beatrice who has an extraordinary story to tell. Spanning Cornwall, London, and Occupied France, tales of the past are told to Lucy and she learns a secret that will change everything she has ever known.


By John Boyne

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, this is a magical story about the choices we make. Eight-year-old Noah’s problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn’t think about them. So he runs away through the forest, and before long he comes across a toyshop, full of amazing toys and wonderful magic. The unusual toymaker has a story to tell of adventure and wonder and broken promises. He takes Noah on a journey that will change his life forever.


Colombo, Sri Lanka
Distance: 3,631 km
Flight Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a day

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