Last month, Sri Lanka played host to some of the world’s finest writers at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival.
Sri Lankan authors included Ashok Ferry, Shehan Karunatilake, Nayomi Munaweera, Anuk Arudpragasam, and Sunila Gallapatti. The international roster contained the talents of Phillippa Gregory, renowned historical fiction writer and author of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, the multi-award winning Colm Toibin, author of ‘Brooklyn’ and Dame Margaret Drabble.
Over four days these brilliant literary minds treated and entertained book-lovers in a series of talks, workshops and presentations. For the first time the festival also included a whole day devoted to Sinhala language authors and their work. The festival also conducts an outreach programme, this year taking place in two schools in Galle and two in Jaffna, involving 600 children. The North South University Collaboration is another important initiative, bringing together university students and teachers from across the country and giving them a chance to interact, with a particular focus on building bridges and reconciliation.
Although the title heralds literary talent, the FLGF is a celebration of all cultural pursuits, and included events on architecture, poetry, cookery, journalism, film and theatre. For this, there can be no better location than the historic port town of Galle, the picturesque and artisanal haven, on Sri Lanka’s South coast.